Californian Man Indicted for Fraudulent Bank Accounts Opened with Stolen Identities
BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted a California man for stealing other peoples’ identities and using them to open accounts at the Birmingham-based BBVA Compass Bank, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr.
A 12-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges EDUARDO FERNANDO VILLANUEVA ARANGUENA, 32, of Reseda, Calif., with six counts each of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Aranguena obtained personally identifying information for six individuals and opened an account or accounts in those individuals’ names at Compass Bank between Sept. 15, 2016, and Nov. 1, 2016, according to the indictment.
Aranguena used the fraudulently established accounts to deposit, withdraw and transfer money, as well as to make purchases, load gift cards, open lines of credit and apply for credit cards, according to the indictment.
“With today’s technology, cybercriminals can commit identity theft against a Birmingham, Alabama, bank from thousands of miles away,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Keim, who is prosecuting the case. “We appreciate the investigative assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Central District of California and the Western District of North Carolina and the Charlotte Field Office of the FBI.”
The maximum penalty for bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence, which would have to be served consecutively to any sentence imposed for bank fraud, and a possible fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
The FBI investigated the case.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.