SAN JUAN, P.R. – On October 5, 2016, a Federal grand jury returned a nineteen count indictment against five individuals for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, unlawful transfer, possession, and use of means of identification during and in relation to an enumerated felony, and access device fraud, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The investigation was led by the United States Secret Service.
The indictment alleges that from on or about May, 2012, through on or about March, 2015, Frankie Ortiz-Jaime, Wilfredo Reyes-Hiche, Cesar Quiles-Perez, Linda Rivera-Ortiz and Javier Torres-Garay knowingly and willfully combined, conspired and agreed with each other, to execute a scheme and artifice to defraud and to obtain money from Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, First Bank, and Oriental Bank which are federally insured financial institutions and to obtain monies and funds owned by and under the custody and control of the financial institutions.
As part of the conspiracy the defendants conspired to engage in deceptive conduct designed to fraudulently obtain monies and credit from federally insured financial institutions for the purchase of goods and the distribution of monies to the members of the conspiracy. The indictment alleges that the defendants would contact Telebanco Popular to request loans using the name and personal identification information of a recruit and proceed to provide false employment and income information. The recruits, aided and abetted by the other members of the conspiracy, would submit false documentation regarding employment and income in order to obtain loans, lines of credit, and credit cards from the financial institutions.
According to the indictment, the defendants would receive electronic transfers or official checks for the loan proceeds and divide the proceeds with other members of the conspiracy. In some instances, loan proceeds and credit cards were used to purchase vehicles, such as a BMW, a Raptor and Polaris. They would also utilize the credit cards to obtain cash and make other retail purchases.
The indictment includes a forfeiture allegation of any property, constituting, or derived from, proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of the violations such as U.S. Currency totaling $285, 270, and three vehicles.
“Sophisticated financial crimes such as this one cause painful long lasting loss to law abiding businesses thereby affecting our fragile economy. Prevention and prosecution of crimes of this nature will remain a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.” said United States Attorney, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth A. Erbe. The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service.
If convicted on charges of bank fraud, the defendants face a sentence of up to thirty (30) years of imprisonment. Criminal indictments are only charges and are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.