Two New Yorkers Charged With Fraud Conspiracy to Commit Passport Fraud and Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that THIERNO O. BAH, age 29, and MANUELA GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN, age 73, both residents of New York, New York, were charged on June 26, 2020 in an indictment with charges related to their arrest by Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputies on February 19, 2020 in Metairie, Louisiana.
According to court documents, BAH and GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN flew from Newark Liberty International Airport to Louis Armstrong International Airport on February 18, 2020. They rented a car, and the following day GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN entered a Capital One bank branch while BAH waited in the car outside. GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN then attempted to cash a stolen check while using a false passport card in the name of another person.
The grand jury returned an indictment charging BAH and GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN with three counts. They were charged with one count of conspiracy to use a false passport, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine. The indictment also charged BAH and GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum 30 years in prison and a maximum $1,000,000.00 fine. Finally, they were charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory two years in prison consecutive to any other sentence and a $250,000.00 fine.
U.S. Attorney Strasser reiterated that an indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation is being handled by the U.S.Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service and Homeland Security Investigations. U.S. Attorney Strasser extended his thanks to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office for their assistance. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew R. Payne is in charge of the prosecution.