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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lowell Man Convicted of $440,000 Embezzlement Scheme

BOSTON – A a representative of a Spanish seafood distributor pleaded guilty today in federal court to bank fraud charges in connection with the theft of more than $440,000.

Jorge Manuel Silva, 58, of Lowell pleaded guilty today to two counts of bank fraud before U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton.  Silva is scheduled to be sentenced on June 22nd.

 At today’s plea hearing, Silva admitted that he was an independent contractor for Seaport Fish Co. (“Seaport”), a corporation established to distribute fish and seafood in the United States by Freiremar Group, headquartered in Spain.  Silva was responsible for coordinating sales to Seaport customers, collecting customer payments, and depositing those payments into Seaport’s bank account.  Instead, Silva diverted more than $903,000 in Seaport customer checks into two corporate accounts of a business owned by Silva.  Sometimes, but not always, weeks or months after he had deposited the customer checks into his accounts, Silva reimbursed Seaport with checks drawn on his own bank accounts. 

To conceal the theft, Silva prepared false deposit slips and emailed them with copies of the customer checks to headquarters in Spain, purportedly to show that the customer checks had been, or were to be, deposited into Seaport’s bank account.  In fact, those customer checks had all been deposited into Silva’s own accounts.  Silva then wrote checks on his two corporate accounts, using Seaport funds, to pay expenses for his other businesses and also for personal expenses.   Silva diverted about $440,000 of Seaport funds for his own use.

The maximum sentence for each count of bank fraud is up to 30 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release and a fine of $1,000,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.  

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Shelly A. Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of Postal Inspection Service’s Boston Division made the announcement today.  The case is being prosecuted by Sandra S. Bower of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.

Financial Fraud
Updated March 18, 2016