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Press Release

Guatemalan Man Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Approximately $10 Million from a New Hampshire-Based Investment Company

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

CONCORD – A Guatemalan man pleaded guilty in federal court in Concord to stealing approximately $10 million from a New Hampshire-based investment company, U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young announces.

Roberto Montano, a/k/a Jorge Roberto Montano Midence, a/k/a Roberto Pellegrini, a/k/a Alberto Yardi, 58, pleaded guilty to wire fraud.  Chief U.S. District Court Judge Landya B. McCafferty scheduled sentencing for May 30, 2024.  Montano was charged by complaint in 2015 and was indicted in 2021.

Montano is a Guatemalan citizen who managed two forestry projects in Guatemala for a New Hampshire-based investment adviser between 2007 and 2014.  Beginning in approximately late 2009, Montano embezzled the projects' funds by (1) diverting cash and concealing the diversions using altered bank and financial statements; (2) mortgaging the projects’ properties without authorization and investing the proceeds in failed business ventures; and (3) stealing teak forestry subsidies paid by the Guatemalan government.  To conceal his embezzlement, Montano altered or deleted entries in financial statements and moved funds back-and-forth between accounts during audits.  For example, the defendant provided the victim a false bank statement reporting that one of the bank accounts had a cash balance of approximately $1,147,604 when it actually had a zero balance.

After Montano was alerted to an investigation into the fraud in 2014, he participated in a Skype call with the victim in which he admitted to embezzling funds “many years ago.”  He admitted he “cooked the books” and “illegally” mortgaged properties.  Montano was in Miami at the time and promised that he would travel to New England.  He also said he would not flee and added, “If I have to go to prison, I’ll go to prison.”

The defendant instead fled the United States for Guatemala.  While in Guatemala, the defendant participated in another call with the victim where he again admitted to embezzlement and fraud totaling approximately $10 million.  However, the defendant was also wanted by Guatemalan authorities, and he moved to Nicaragua, where he has been living for several years under an alias.  Most recently, Montano was known as “Alberto Yardi,” a purported life coach and yoga instructor. 

Since 2014, the FBI was actively engaged in efforts to locate and arrest Montano.  Montano was ultimately arrested on November 1, 2023, at Miami International Airport.  Once he was taken into custody, Montano provided law enforcement a five-page document admitting his guilt.  The first two sentences read, “I am guilty.  I abused the trust [the victim] placed in me.”

The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount stolen, whichever is greater.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

FBI is leading the investigation. Valuable assistance was provided by the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), Republic of Guatemala, the FBI’s Legal Attaché in Panama City, Panama, the FBI Miami Field Office, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. State Department, specifically the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua, and the Embassy of Italy in Managua, Nicaragua. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander S. Chen is prosecuting the case.



Updated February 13, 2024