CONCORD – A California man was sentenced today in federal court in Concord for wire fraud charges, U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young announces.
Jesse Hernandez, a/k/a Kevin Zarbalas, 61, previously of Los Angeles, California, was sentenced by senior U.S. District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro to 30 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release. Hernandez was also ordered to pay restitution to three separate victims in the amount of $88,815.29.
“Not only did Hernandez victimize three companies in three states, but he continued this financial scheme while he was facing charges here in New Hampshire,” U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young said. “The sentence imposed today ensures that he will be prevented from harming business owners during his incarceration. The defendant was also ordered to pay restitution to the victims, which is always a priority of this office.”
“Jesse Hernandez’s clients thought he was a man of his word. Little did they know he would take full advantage of that trust, using tens of thousands of dollars of their money as his own,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “The FBI is fighting every day to shut down financial fraudsters like this, find justice for their victims, and protect the public. With today’s sentence, Mr. Hernandez has finally been held accountable.”
In May of 2019, Hernandez executed a scheme to illegally obtain funds from a New Hampshire business (TH) in connection with a customized ice cream truck for an experimental marketing event in California. TH sought a specialty-branded truck that was wrapped in the product’s marketing art and contained multiple specifications. TH found the defendant’s company, Mobie Experiential Trucks (Mobie), to be knowledgeable about the experiential vehicle industry and that his pricing was competitive. Hernandez provided a 22-slide presentation to TH personnel and discussed the presentation over the phone. The images in the presentation were later determined to display products done by other companies and pictures taken from the internet by Hernandez to misrepresent his experience and work. Ultimately, the ice cream truck was never delivered, and the defendant used the funds from TH for other purposes.
On December 1, 2021, Hernandez pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud in connection with the above. After noticing a press release announcing the guilty plea, a Minnesota based company (AA) contacted authorities to report that it too had recently been defrauded by Hernandez under similar circumstances. Later, in 2022, Hernandez attempted to defraud a New York based company in connection with another marketing truck, this time utilizing an alias of “Kevin Zarbalas.” Hernandez’s bail was subsequently revoked, and he has been in custody since his arrest in California in March 2023.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation led the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles L. Rombeau prosecuted the case.