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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Albuquerque Resident Pleads Guilty to Federal Bank Fraud and Identity Theft Charges

ALBUQUERQUE – Todd McDonald, 39, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft charges under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

McDonald was arrested in Oct. 2017, on a criminal complaint charging him with theft of mail on Oct. 19, 2017, in Bernalillo County, N.M.  According to the complaint, Albuquerque Police Department officers arrested McDonald after finding him asleep in his vehicle in a grocery store parking lot and determining that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.  The complaint stated that the officers found a counterfeit U.S. Postal Service arrow key, mail, and debit cards and credit cards in the names of other individuals while executing a search warrant on McDonald’s vehicle.

McDonald and co-defendants Christopher Freeburn, 45, and Darlene Baca, 38, both of Albuquerque, subsequently were charged in a 34-count indictment on Nov. 15, 2017.  Count 1 of the indictment charged Freeburn and McDonald with participating in a conspiracy to possess stolen mail, possess a postal arrow key, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.   Counts 2 through 12 charge Freeburn and McDonald with possession of stolen mail.  Counts 13 through 17 charged Freeburn with possession of a postal arrow key.  Counts 18 through 30 charged McDonald, Baca and Freeburn with committing bank fraud.  Counts 31 through 34 charged McDonald and Freeburn with aggravated identity theft in furtherance of bank fraud.  According to the indictment, the defendants committed the offenses from March 2016 through Oct. 2017, in Bernalillo County, by stealing mail, which included personal identifying information, for the purpose of submitting online applications for lines of credit and credit cards in the names of other individuals and to make personal purchases for goods and services including hotel rooms and drugs.

During today’s proceedings, McDonald pled guilty to two counts of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in furtherance of bank fraud.  In entering the guilty plea, McDonald admitted that on Feb. 17, 2017, he used another person’s credit cards to book and pay for hotel rooms.  McDonald further admitted that on Oct. 20, 2017, he used another person’s credit card and personal identifying information to make purchases at a store in Bernalillo County and pretended to be that person to make the purchases using money that was held by a bank.  McDonald acknowledged that he obtained the personally identifying information of the victim from the victim’s mail. 

At sentencing, McDonald faces a maximum penalty of 30 years of imprisonment, including a mandatory penalty of two years imprisonment to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed on the aggravated identity theft charge.  A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Freeburn pled guilty on Feb. 1, 2018, to conspiracy, five counts of unlawful possession of a counterfeit postal arrow key, ten counts of committing bank fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft in furtherance of bank fraud.  Freeburn’s plea agreement recommends a 60 month term of imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $1 million.  A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Baca pled guilty on Feb. 28, 2018, to three counts of bank fraud.  At sentencing, Baca faces a maximum penalty of 30 years of imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $1 million.  A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Albuquerque Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Mysliwiec.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Component(s): 
Updated April 25, 2018