International Bank of Commerce Robbery Lands Former Bank Teller in Federal Prison
|Dec. 1, 2011|
HOUSTON – Estefany Danelia Martinez, a former bank teller convicted for bank robbery and embezzlement of bank funds arising from a robbery of the International Bank of Commerce (IBOC) has been sentenced to federal prison, United States Kenneth Magidson announced today. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison handed down the sentences for Martinez, 18, as well as Arturo Solano, 22, in federal court this morning.
The two were indicted along with Ricky Gonzalez, 19, the boyfriend of Martinez, and Anna Margarita Rivera, 19, another former IBOC bank teller, on May 11, 2011. All four pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this year.
On March 23, 2011, two men wearing masks and hooded sweatshirts and who appeared to be armed with semi-automatic pistols entered the Eldridge Parkway branch of the IBOC. They robbed the bank by threatening the two bank tellers on duty, Martinez and Rivera. The tellers were allegedly forced to empty their teller drawers of cash as well as to fill bags provided by the robbers with cash from the vault. After the two men left the bank, the two tellers - who had remained in the vault, called 911. The tellers described the events and provided a false description of the two robbers to police.
Shortly after the robbery, an anonymous tip to Crimestoppers claimed that bank employees, Martinez and Rivera, had actually staged the bank robbery along with Gonzalez and another male and directed investigators to the Facebook pages of Martinez and Gonzalez. Through further investigation, investigating agents ultimately identified Gonzales and Solano as the two males who had robbed the IBOC bank with the assistance of former bank tellers Martinez and Rivera and recovered a portion of the money stolen from the bank.
Today, Judge Ellison sentenced Martinez to 15 months on each count to run concurrently, while Solano will serve 10 months in federal prison. Gonzalez and Rivera are pending sentencing on Jan. 5, 2012, and Dec. 8, 2011, respectively.
The investigation leading to the filing of federal charges against these four defendants was conducted by the FBI and the Houston Police Department and substantially assisted by a tip called into Houston Crimestoppers.
Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Elmilady is prosecuting the case.