Two Individuals Indicted For Wire Fraud
Defendants face a forfeiture allegation of $475,431
SAN JUAN, P.R. – On February 1st, a Federal grand jury returned a thirteen-count indictment charging Joel De Jesús-Ocasio and Marangelis Rivera-Colón with wire fraud and false statements in loan applications, announced Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) are in charge of the investigation.
According to the indictment, since 2004 Joel De Jesús-Ocasio was a licensed life insurance broker/agent who worked for National Western Life Insurance Company. In 2010, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance of Puerto Rico (CIPR) revoked De Jesús-Ocasio’s insurance broker license and as a result, on or about February 14, 2011, National Western Life Insurance Company suspended its contract with the defendant. Marangelis Rivera-Colón was not an insurance agent, but De Jesús-Ocasio submitted false insurance license documentation in her name to National Western Life Insurance Company so that De Jesús-Ocasio could continue to sell insurance policies and annuities.
From December 2010 to November 2011, using the fraudulently acquired insurance agent status with National Western Life Insurance Company for Rivera-Colón, De Jesús-Ocasio sold insurance policies and annuities and obtained $283,718.05 in commissions for these sales. These payments were wire transferred from National Western Life Insurance Company to a Scotiabank personal account belonging to Rivera-Colón, but controlled and utilized by De Jesús-Ocasio.
The defendants made or caused to be made, material false statements to three different banks to obtain three loans. To wit, Western Bank for the purposes of obtaining a home loan for a total amount of $304,000.00; to First Bank for the purposes of obtaining an automobile loan for a total amount of $47,231.00 for a Jeep Grand Cherokee; and to Scotiabank for the purposes of obtaining an automobile loan for a total amount of $124,200.00 for the purchase of a Nissan Skyline GTR.
The false statements included the following: defendants stated that Rivera-Colón worked for National Western Life Insurance Company as an Insurance Agent and had a monthly salary, when in truth and in fact, defendants well knew that Rivera-Colón was not an insurance agent, did not have an insurance agent license, could not sell insurance policies, and had not been employed by National Western Life Insurance Company as an Insurance Agent.
“These defendants knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud an insurance company and three financial institutions for their personal economic gain,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We remain committed to investigating and prosecuting financial crimes and fraud and will hold those who cheat the system accountable for their actions.”
“IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to devote resources to investigating all financial violations, including bank fraud. The actions of these individuals had a negative impact not only on financial institutions but on the people of Puerto Rico as well. Rest assured we will continue to bring to justice individuals who employ such schemes for personal gain,” said Kelly R. Jackson, IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Office.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum possible sentence of 30 years. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Edward Veronda. An indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty. The investigation is ongoing.
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