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Press Release

Ex-Bureau of Land Management employee admits stealing, forging and cashing government checks

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

MISSOULA—A former Bureau of Land Management employee today admitted to stealing agency checks and forging the signature of another employee to obtain cash for personal expenses, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Adrian Anthony Aragon, 52, of Butte, pleaded guilty to theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. Aragon faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250 000 fine and three years of supervised release on the theft crime and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release on the aggravated identity theft crime.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided. U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen will sentence Aragon on June 26. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Aragon was detained pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that Aragon worked for the BLM in 2019 and 2020. In early 2022, a BLM employee, identified as Jane Doe, reported four checks totaling $10,700 were written on a government bank account in her name without her knowledge or authorization. Bank records showed that the checks were written to “cash” against a Citibank account and presented for deposit into Wells Fargo accounts solely in Aragon’s name. Aragon used the stolen funds for personal expenses, including cash withdrawals, utility and cell phone bills, restaurants, grocery stores and Amazon purchases. Jane Doe told law enforcement that Aragon had access to her checks during his employment and that Aragon made schedule changes resulting in him being the first or last person in the office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla E. Painter is prosecuting the case. The Department of Interior Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation.



Clair J. Howard

Public Affairs Officer


Updated February 21, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-54