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Man Who Stole from Bank Accounts of U.s. Marines Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy, Fraud and Identity Theft

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2008

Las Vegas, Nev. – A resident of El Paso, Texas, who was charged in federal court in January with stealing money from the bank accounts of 15 United States Marines stationed in Iraq, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud, and identity theft charges, announced Gregory A. Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

Edgar Hermosillo, 24, entered guilty pleas on Wednesday, April 2, 2008, before U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identity theft, one count of wire fraud and two counts of identity theft. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy charge, up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the wire fraud charge, and up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each identity theft charge. Sentencing is set for July 7, 2008, before Judge Pro.

"The defendant stole nearly $40,000 from the bank accounts of several U.S. Marines using false identification cards and unauthorized money transfers," said U.S. Attorney Brower. "Fortunately, the defendant was caught before the total loss amount became even larger. The fact that the defendant stole from Marines serving in a combat zone makes this crime exceptionally egregious."

According to the plea agreement, from 2001 to 2005, Hermosillo was enlisted with the United States Marine Corps. Prior to his discharge in May 2005, Hermosillo accessed United States Government computers located in Camp Pendleton, California, and unlawfully obtained the bank account numbers and personal identifying information for 15 enlisted men with the U.S. Marine Corps. All of the victims' bank accounts were located at the Pacific Marine Credit Union (PMCU), a federally insured institution, which has branches in Camp Pendleton and elsewhere.

After Hermosillo was discharged from the Marines, he accessed the victim Marines' bank accounts over the Internet and caused funds to be transferred from their accounts to his bank account and the bank accounts of his family members. Impersonating several account holders, Hermosillo made or caused to be made telephone calls to PMCU employees and directed them to wire money from the victim bank accounts to Western Union locations in Nevada, Texas, and New Mexico.

Hermosillo also created several false United States Government identification cards bearing his photograph and the name of the victim account holders, and presented them to Western Union locations in Nevada, Texas, and New Mexico, in order to obtain money from the accounts of several Marines. The conspiracy involved the compromising of approximately 26 bank accounts and resulted in a total loss of approximately $39,094.

This case is being investigated by the United States Navy Criminal Investigation Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ray Gattinella.

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