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April 9, 2009


(McALLEN, Texas) – A Mission, Texas, man was sentenced to prison today for bank fraud and theft by bank employee, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. 

Erik Alfredo Constante, 22, of Mission, was convicted by a federal jury on July 9, 2008, for bank fraud and theft, embezzlement or misapplication by bank officer or employee. On Thursday, April 9, 2009, U.S. District Court judge Randy Crane sentenced Constante to 36 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release.

The investigation leading to these charges showed that Constante forged the signature of an International Bank of Commerce customer on a debit slip and used the forged document to withdraw approximately $100,000 from the bank customer’s account. Other evidence at trial showed that Constante then handed over the money to an unknown co-conspirator. Constante testified at trial and claimed that “the Zetas” threatened him to steal the money and that he did so out of fear that his family would be harmed. Constante further admitted he never informed law enforcement about the threat. Lastly, evidence at trial showed that when Constante was asked about the $100,000 cash transaction by bank officers, Constante claimed he could not remember performing the large cash withdrawal. After a two-day trial, a jury returned a guilty verdict on both counts in the indictment.

The investigation was conducted by the United States Secret Service Special Agent Cameron Wolfley and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Wells Jr. and Patricia Ann Rigney.



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