Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Fraud and Theft Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Jeremy L. Lara, 36, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to federal fraud and theft charges under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Lara was arrested in May 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with theft of mail on May 19, 2016, in Sandoval County, N.M., after law enforcement officers allegedly found Lara in the process of stealing mail from a community mail box. According to the complaint, officers recovered a counterfeited USPS arrow key as well as stolen mail from inside Lara’s vehicle.
Lara was subsequently charged in a ten-count indictment on June 14, 2016. Lara was charged with the following: three counts of bank fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft on Nov. 11, 2015, Nov. 13, 2015, and Nov. 15, 2015; two counts of possession of a counterfeit postal key on Dec. 19, 2015 and May 19, 2016; and three counts of theft or receipt of stolen mail on Dec. 21, 2015 and May 19, 2016. The indictment alleges that the crimes took place in Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties, N.M. The indictment includes forfeiture provisions requiring Lara to forfeit $4,870.28 to the United States.
During today’s proceedings, Lara pled guilty to all counts of the indictment. In entering the guilty plea, Lara admitted that he stole mail by using a counterfeit USPS arrow key that he created. Lara further admitted that he specifically sought out driver’s licenses, bank cards and other personal identifying information to access the bank accounts of legitimate card holders, and impersonated the account holders by using their bank cards and PIN numbers to withdraw cash from ATMs.
At sentencing, Lara faces a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in prison as well as a mandatory penalty of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge which must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the bank fraud charges. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Rio Rancho Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Jon Ganjei is prosecuting the case.