California Real Estate Developer Sentenced to Federal Prison for Using Stolen Identities to Obtain Covid-Relief Program Funds
PORTLAND, Ore.—A Las Vegas man was sentenced to federal prison Thursday for impersonating an employee of a coin-cashing company to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in change from coin-cashing machines in multiple states.
Richard Anthony Pena, 34, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release. Pena was also ordered to pay approximately $582,000 in restitution.
According to court documents, from approximately January 1, 2021, and continuing until his arrest on December 22, 2021, in Clark County, Washington, Pena engaged in an elaborate scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in change from coin-cashing machines located in grocery stores and other commercial establishments in multiple states.
To carry out his scheme, Pena would disguise himself as an employee of a coin-cashing company, walk into various stores, act as if he was servicing the location’s coin-cashing machine, break into the machine, and walk out with the machine’s coin vault. Pena’s repeated this ruse dozens of times in stores en route from his home in Las Vegas to a grocery store in Vancouver, Washington where an alert employee observed Pena and notified law enforcement.
After his arrest, sheriff deputies from Clark County, Washington searched Pena’s rented vehicles and local hotel room. They located clothing Pena wore to disguise himself, tools he used to break into the coin-chasing machines, and laundry baskets and bags filled with millions of coins. Investigators seized approximately 1.5 million stolen coins totaling more than $133,000. In total, Pena cost his victim coin-cashing company more than $715,000 in losses and damage to coin-cashing machines.
On March 10, 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment charging Pena with conspiring with others to transport and transporting stolen money. On March 10, 2023, he pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge.
This case was investigated by the FBI and Clark County (Washington) Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Quinn P. Harrington, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.