FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WEDNESDAY - October 21, 2009
ANOTHER DEFENDANT PLEADS GUILTY IN
MULTI-TARGET CROP INSURANCE FRAUD
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today FERNAN SANCHEZ, 41, of Warsaw, North Carolina, pled guilty before United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, to making material false statements, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. According to the plea agreement, SANCHEZ has agreed to forfeit $214,500, he received in criminal proceeds.
A Criminal Information was filed by the United States Attorney’s Office on September 29, 2009.
During the investigation, law enforcement determined that 120 tobacco checks were cashed totaling $1,385,001.29 between August 2007 and October 2007 at El Mariachi Gordo, a registered money services business, owned and operated by SANCHEZ in Warsaw, North Carolina. The checks were issued by Universal Leaf North America, a tobacco manufacturer in Nashville, North Carolina, and made payable to various nominee names.
On October 14, 2008, officers interviewed SANCHEZ regarding the tobacco checks. He falsely claimed that he saw each payee on the check and verified their identifications. However, SANCHEZ had received all of the checks from one person.
The maximum penalty for the charge is up to five years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture - Office of the Inspector General and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations. This case is being handled by the Office’s Economic Crimes Section. Assistant United States Attorney Banumathi Rangarajan represented the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.