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Press Release

Miami Man Indicted for Conspiracy, Bank Larceny, and Accessing a Protected Computer in Furtherance of Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An eight-count indictment was unsealed following the arrest of Carlos Luis Vera La Cruz, 44, of Miami, charging him with conspiracy, bank larceny, accessing a protected computer in furtherance of fraud, and attempting to access a protected computer in furtherance of fraud, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

The indictment, brought on April 18, 2024, also charges a second individual, whose name remains under seal.

According to court documents, Vera La Cruz and others engaged in an ATM “jackpotting” conspiracy where they stole money from ATMs at targeted banks and credit unions around the country. They did this by infecting the ATMs with malware, which forced the ATMs to dispense money without a valid transaction. In June 2023, as part of this scheme, Vera La Cruz targeted seven ATMs belonging to a bank in and around Redding and Chico, California, stealing $291,820. In total, Vera La Cruz and his co-conspirators have successfully stolen more than $2,615,766 from banks and credit unions in multiple states.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elliot C. Wong is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Vera La Cruz faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for bank larceny, and a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the counts of conspiracy and for each count of accessing a protected computer in furtherance of fraud. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated May 23, 2024

Topic
Financial Fraud