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Press Release

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced To Prison Term For His Role In Fraudulent U.S. Treasury Check Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Walt Green announced today that Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson has sentenced ALBELK REYES SERRATA, also known as Alberto Reyes, age 26, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to thirty-seven (37) months in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy that involved the cashing of more than $2.2 million in fraudulently-obtained U.S. Treasury checks during 2012 and 2013.  Following his release from imprisonment, REYES will be required to serve a 3-year term of supervised release.  REYES was also ordered to make restitution in the amount of $2.2 million, to forfeit an additional $220,000 as proceeds from his criminal conduct, and to pay a $100 special assessment.

On May 28, 2015, SERRATA had appeared in Court and pled guilty to participating in a conspiracy to steal government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.  In connection with his plea, SERRATA admitted that throughout 2012 and 2013, he participated in a scheme to obtain more than 350 fraudulent United States Treasury checks and have them cashed by a co-conspirator in Baton Rouge.

SERRATA’s sentencing is part of a broader investigation of check cashing businesses in Baton Rouge that are alleged to have obtained and cashed millions of dollars in fraudulently-obtained U.S. Treasury checks during 2012 and 2013.  To date, the investigation has also resulted in the following prosecutions:

  • In one case, ANYELINA REYES, age 36, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been charged with conspiracy to steal government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.  As REYES has acknowledged, she operated a store on Florida Boulevard called “A&R Elite Team, LLC,” and, after opening a bank account for her store, she agreed to help SERRATA and others facilitate their scheme by cashing checks they sent to her.  From April 2012 through April 2013, REYES deposited approximately 370 fraudulently-obtained Treasury checks into her business account, with such checks having a total face value of approximately $2.2 million.  On November 20, 2014, REYES appeared before Chief Judge Jackson and pled guilty.  She is currently awaiting sentencing.


  • In another case, CARLOS L. LINARES, age 55, of Baton Rouge, has been charged in a Superseding Indictment with theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, in violation of Title 31, United States Code, Sections 5318 and 5322, and two counts of obstruction of a federal proceeding, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1505.  The Superseding Indictment alleges that LINARES operated a store on Florida Boulevard called “Latinos Supermarket, LLC,” and that he cashed more than 250 U.S. Treasury checks that had been obtained through fraud.  The Superseding Indictment further alleges that LINARES knowingly failed to take basic steps to maintan an effective anti-money laundering program at his store, which, as LINARES knew, was required by the Bank Secrecy Act.  In 2010 and again in 2013, as the Internal Revenue Service attempted to determine whether LINARES was following the law, LINARES is alleged to have obstructed and impeded the exams.  LINARES has entered pleas of not guilty to the charges contained in the Superseding Indictment, and is scheduled for trial next month.

U.S. Attorney Green stated: “Mr. Serrata’s sentence confirms that identity theft and crimes involving stolen U.S. Treasury checks are very serious.  Those involved in schemes such as this one – which cost the United States Treasury millions of taxpayer dollars – will be investigated and prosecuted, and if convicted, they will face severe consequences.”

Jerome R. McDuffie, IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge, stated, “IRS Criminal Investigation is determined to stop false tax refund schemes and we will vigorously pursue all those who participate in identity theft crimes and launder the proceeds. The sentencing today of Mr. Reyes Serrata confirms that participation in these schemes does not pay, and those who do so will be investigated and prosecuted.  IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to aggressively work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to protect innocent taxpayers’ sensitive information and maintain the public’s trust.”

This ongoing investigation is being handled by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division, with valuable assistance from the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions and the United States Postal Inspection Service, among other agencies.  The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alan A. Stevens, who serves as a Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Crosswell.

NOTE: An indictment is an accusation by the Grand Jury.  A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless adjudicated guilty at trial or through a guilty plea.

Updated September 9, 2015

Financial Fraud