Texas Resident Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Scheme to Defraud the U.S. Export-import Bank
WASHINGTON – A Fabens, Texas, resident was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) of more than $690,624.
The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman of the Western District of Texas; Osvaldo L. Gratacos, Inspector General of the Ex-Im Bank; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Dennis A. Ulrich of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) in El Paso, Texas.
Hector Cuevas, 42, was also sentenced by Judge Kathleen Cardone in U.S. District Court in El Paso to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $553,148 in restitution and $690,624 in forfeiture. Cuevas pleaded guilty on Oct. 13, 2011, to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Cuevas admitted that he participated in a scheme to defraud the Ex-Im Bank of more than $690,624.
According to court documents, Cuevas was the owner of CT Implement Inc., a farm equipment sales company in Fabens that purported to be in the business of exporting U.S. agricultural equipment to Mexico. During his plea hearing, Cuevas admitted that he helped others prepare and submit false applications, financial records and export documents to two lending banks to assist co-conspirators in Mexico in obtaining two Ex-Im insured loans purportedly for the purchase of equipment from Cuevas’ company. Once the loans were approved, Cuevas admitted that he acted as a money launderer by illegally transferring Ex-Im Bank insured proceeds to both borrowers and others in Mexico. Both loans defaulted and caused Ex-Im Bank to pay claims totaling $583,430 to the lending banks.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing. Ex-Im Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Patrick Donley and William Bowne of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Spitzer of the Western District of Texas, El Paso Office. The case was investigated by the Ex-Im Bank Office of Inspector General and ICE-HSI El Paso. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) also provided valuable assistance and financial analysis in this investigation.