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May 11, 2011

FOUR CHARGED IN MARCH 2011 ROBBERY OF INTERNATIONAL BANK OF COMMERCE

Two IBOC bank tellers allegedly planned heist

(HOUSTON) – Two former female bank tellers and two males have been indicted for bank robbery and embezzlement of bank funds arising from the March 23, 2011, robbery of the International Bank of Commerce (IBOC) in Houston, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

The two-count indictment returned today, May 11, 2011, charges Estefany Danelia Martinez, 18, and Anna Margarita Rivera, 19, two former IBOC bank tellers; Ricky Gonzalez, Martinez’s boyfriend, 19; and Arturo Solano, 22, Rivera’s brother, and further seeks to forfeit to the United States the more than $60,000 stolen from the bank. 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. All four defendants were arrested in April 2011 after the filing of criminal complaints. The two females defendants, Martinez and Rivera, are currently on bond, while the two male defendant remain in federal custody. The next court appearance for each of the defendants will be for arraignment on the charges on dates to be set by the court in the near future.

According to allegations contained in the complaints filed in this case, 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 and robbed the bank of approximately $62,201 dollars 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 description of the two robbers, allegedly later learned to have been false, 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 Martinez’ boyfriend, Ricky 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 allegedly robbed the IBOC bank with the alleged assistance of former bank tellers Martinez and Rivera and recovered $34,940 of the money stolen from the bank.

Bank robbery carries a maximum 10-year-term of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine upon conviction, while the bank embezzlement carries a maximum 30-year-term of imprisonment and a $1 million fine upon conviction.  

Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Elmilady and Kebharu Smith are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

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