Man Sentenced To Eight Years In Prison For Bank Fraud And Witness Tampering
SAN JUAN, P.R. - United States District Court Judge Aida Delgado-Colón sentenced José Andrés Colón-Santos to eight years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for bank fraud and tampering with a witness by intimidation, threats, corrupt persuasion, or misleading conduct, announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. The Court also ordered the defendant to make restitution payments to 12 victims in a total amount of $73,727.82.
On May 2, 2018, Colón-Santos plead guilty to committing bank fraud and tampering with a witness by intimidation, threats, corrupt persuasion or misleading conduct, in a case where he targeted elderly victims. Colón-Santos admitted to having unlawfully enriched himself by obtaining bank account information and personal identifying information (social security number, date of birth, address as well as credit/debit card and PIN numbers) from victims whose ages ranged from 69 to 83 years old. According to his guilty plea, Colón-Santos would obtain the name and number of his elderly victims from a telephone book. He would then call them and procure their personal identifying information by impersonating a bank officer. After obtaining their personal identifying information, he would take control of the victims’ bank accounts by calling the bank to change the addresses in the account and request replacement cards. He would use the newly issued ATM cards to withdraw funds for his personal use and benefit. Whenever the bank account owner was a female, co-defendant Erika Rosado-Matías would impersonate the bank account owner to request the change of address and replacement cards. The scheme caused substantial financial hardship to more than 12 victims.
Colón-Santos was also sentenced for intimidating and threatening a 75-year old female by threatening her with physical harm if she in any manner provided information or testimony to law enforcement agents involved in the investigation of his fraudulent scheme. Judge Delgado-Colón indicated that this conduct was significantly reprehensible and warranted the severity of the sentence imposed.
“The prosecution of this case and the severity of this sentence should serve to reassure the public that we are paying close attention to the well-being of our elders, and that we will spare no expense to take fraudsters off the streets. Law enforcement will not stand by as criminals attempt to fleece a very vulnerable group of our community. These criminals are disrupting their lives by stealing their savings and destroying their credit through calculated and pervasive fraud schemes,” stated U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “I urge everyone to take steps to protect their personally identifiable information (PII) from criminals who seek illicit profits through fraudulent schemes.”
The criminal prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennise N. Longo-Quiñones. The investigation was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service with the assistance of Puerto Rico Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations.
Co-defendant Erika Yazmin Rosado-Matías plead guilty on July 31, 2018 and her sentencing is scheduled for October 22, 2108 before United States District Court Judge Aida Delgado-Colón.
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