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Press Release

New Jersey Woman To Enter Guilty Plea In An Interstate Conspiracy

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

Involving Bank Fraud, Money Laundering And Drug Manufacturing

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Evelyn Ugalde, age 37, of Hopatcong, New Jersey, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

     The felony Information filed against Ugalde in U.S. District Court in Scranton charges that she engaged in a conspiracy involving nominees selling their credit in exchange for cash payments. Ugalde’s role in the alleged conspiracy involved the preparation, execution, and submission of a false mortgage application to IndyMac Bank for a mortgage in the amount of $216,000. In exchange for the use of her name and credit, Ugalde allegedly received cash payments. The property falsely mortgaged is located in Gilbert, Monroe County, Pennsylvania. The plea agreement is subject to the Court’s approval.

     Ugalde’s co-conspirators are charged in a superseding indictment filed on June 26, 2012. They include Carlos Guerra-Lescay, age 51, Eileen Mesa, age 36, Ernesto Huerta Martin, age 51, Jose Frias, age 43, all from Newark, NJ, Vivian Cruz, age 49, and Antonio Figueredo, age 41, both from Easton, PA, and Osleivy Gomez, age 34, North Bergen, NJ. The superseding indictment alleges that the defendants engaged in a scheme to acquire properties with false financial information submitted to multiple financial institutions.

     The properties, located in the Brodheadsville and Gilbert area of Monroe County, as well as in New Jersey, were then used to facilitate an indoor marijuana growing operation. Search warrants executed by the Pennsylvania State Police at three of the properties in August 2011 uncovered an alleged large-scale indoor marijuana grow operation.

     This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of the Treasury - Internal Revenue Service, and the Pennsylvania State Police. Prosecution has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski.

     Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is five years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Updated April 9, 2015