Virginia Man Sentenced to 5 Years Probation and Ordered to Pay Over $1.5 Million in Restitution for Defrauding the United States
ALBUQUERQUE – Fernando Cairo-Rosell, 29, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to conspiracy and bank fraud charges arising out of a scheme to steal mail from USPS collection boxes at U.S. Post Offices in the Albuquerque area in July and Aug. 2017.
U.S. Postal Inspectors arrested Cairo-Rosell and co-defendants Jorge R. Cabrera, 20, Hector Lau, 21, and Yarelys Marquez, 19, all of Albuquerque, on Aug. 30, 2017, based on criminal complaints charging them with theft of mail and bank fraud charges. The criminal complaint alleged that in July and Aug. 2017, mail collection boxes at USPS stations in Albuquerque repeatedly were broken into and mail was stolen. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service initiated an investigation into the scheme after receiving complaints that checks deposited in the mail collection boxes had been stolen, altered and deposited into accounts allegedly held by the defendants.
The four defendants were subsequently charged with conspiracy and nine counts of bank fraud in a ten-count indictment, which was filed on Sept. 21, 2017. According to the indictment, the four defendants participated in a conspiracy to commit bank fraud that began in July 2017 and continued until Aug. 2017, and operated in Bernalillo County, N.M. The indictment also charges the four defendants with committing bank fraud against four credit unions that maintain branches in Albuquerque. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to commit bank fraud by stealing checks that had been deposited in U.S. mail depositories, altering the checks, and attempting to pass the checks off as legitimate to banking institutions. The indictment alleges that as part of their bank fraud scheme, the defendants deposited checks, which had been altered to make them payable to members of their conspiracy and in amounts ranging from $500 to $4,754, into bank accounts held by members of the conspiracy.
During today’s proceedings, Cairo-Rosell pled guilty to conspiracy and five counts of bank fraud under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In entering the guilty plea, Cairo-Rosell admitted that from July 10, 2017 through Aug. 9, 2017, he conspired with others to deposit altered checks which Cairo-Rosell knew had been stolen from mailboxes throughout Albuquerque. Cairo-Rosell further admitted that on at least four occasions, he allowed his bank account at an Albuquerque-area credit union to be used to deposit checks in exchange for a portion of the check-cashing proceeds.
At sentencing, Cairo-Rosell faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
Cabrera, Lau and Marquez have entered pleas of not guilty to the charges against them and are pending trial. Charges in criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaheen P. Torgoley.