Family Members Charged In Mail Fraud Conspiracy Involving Local Travel Agency Are Arrested By U.S. Postal Inspectors In New York
DALLAS — Three Dallas residents, Jorge Armando Flores, 45, his wife Roxana Flores, 43, and her son, Julio C. Funes-Alas, 27, were arrested by U.S. Postal Inspectors this morning in Amityville, New York, on conspiracy and mail fraud charges outlined in a 19-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Dallas last week, and unsealed today, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. All three defendants appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge, who ordered that they be detained and transported to the Northern District of Texas for further court proceedings.
According to the indictment, Jorge and Roxana Flores were employed as sales agents in the Latin Department by U.S.A. Gateway, Inc., an international wholesale travel agent, located on Spring Valley Road in Dallas. Gateway was registered with the Airline Reporting Corporation which enabled it to purchase airline tickets directly from the airlines. Gateway then sold these tickets to subagents, or retail travel agencies, that in turn would sell the tickets to their customers. Among the subagents that purchased airline tickets from Gateway were Ramon Travel & Services, Inc., located in Providence, Rhode Island; Your Travel Agent Con Sabor Latino, located in Carrollton, Texas; and Jeanette Travel, located in Lowell, Massachusetts.
The indictment alleges that beginning at least as early as March 2007, and continuing until August 2011, the three defendants conspired with each other, and others, to commit mail fraud by converting to their benefit, checks that were mailed to Gateway from subagents. As part of the conspiracy Jorge Flores circumvented accounting procedures and caused checks mailed by subagents to Gateway to be diverted and deposited into bank accounts that the defendants set up and controlled. When a check was received, Jorge Flores would forge the signatory’s notation on a photocopy to indicated the subagent’s check had been received and then deliver the falsified photocopy to the accounts receivable department for recording. The original check would be diverted into bank accounts that the defendants had set up to receive the stolen funds. The defendants would then write checks, withdraw funds, make electronic withdrawals or transfers, make ATM withdrawals, and make debit purchases on these accounts for their personal benefit and use.
In addition to the conspiracy count, Jorge Flores is charged with 18 counts of mail fraud; Roxana Flores is charged with 12 counts of mail fraud; and Julio C. Funes-Alas is charged with six counts of mail fraud. Each of these counts represents a check of between $9,000 and $33,000 from the subagent to Gateway, which was diverted by the defendants.
A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. Upon conviction, however, each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Stokes is in charge of the prosecution.