FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2006
CALIFORNIA MAN CHARGED IN SCHEME INVOLVING THEFT OF $474,000
TAX REFUND CHECK
DENVER - Bill Leone, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, and Terry L. Stuart, Special Agent In Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office, announced that a federal magistrate judge in Los Angeles (Central District of California), late yesterday ordered HERMAN ALPHONSO REGUSTERS, JR., age 47, Oakland, California be detained without bond pending trial and removed in custody to Colorado. The defendant was arrested August 4, 2006 at the Los Angeles Airport. The arrest was based an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Denver, Colorado, on July 12, 2006, for conspiracy and money laundering.
The indictment alleges that on or about August or September of 2002 REGUSTERS and others received a stolen United States Treasury check in the amount of $474,150.26. The check had been erroneously issued by the Treasury Department to Sinai Temple, located in Los Angeles, California.
In September of 2002, REGUSTERS and others contacted Centennial Precious Metals, Inc., located in Denver, Colorado, concerning a possible purchase of gold. During the initial contact with Precious Metals, Inc., REGUSTERS falsely represented himself as an authorized representative named “Steven Ackerman”, and further falsely represented that Sinai Temple was a division of a fictitious entity called “Sinai Temple Investments.”
Over the course of several weeks in September 2002, REGUSTERS along with one or more women acting as his agent(s) and posing as assistants to “Steven Ackerman” arranged to use the stolen Treasury check to purchase 1,408 gold coins from Centennial Precious Metals for a total of $474,088.00. The gold was to be mailed to an address in San Bernardino, California. The address was an empty office space, which had been leased by a previously charged coconspirator. On September 19, 2002, REGUSTERS caused the deposit of the stolen check into a Centennial Precious Metals account at the Bank of Cherry Creek in Denver, Colorado. On September 26, 2002, REGUSTERS or his agents, spoke several times with representatives from the Bank of Cherry Creek concerning whether the bank would honor the stolen check. Law enforcement officials were later contacted, and they uncovered the theft.
If convicted, REGUSTERS faces up to 20 years in prison and/or fined not more than $500,000 or (2x's the value of the property involved in the transactions) for each of the two counts of money laundering.
The case was investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Kirsch.
These charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.