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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Miami Ringleader of Nationwide Counterfeit Check Cashing and Identity Theft Scheme Sentenced to Over 10 Years in Federal Prison

Miami, Fl. – A federal district judge has sentenced a Miami man convicted of running a nationwide counterfeit check cashing and identity theft scheme while illegally possessing a firearm to 129 months in prison.  The man, who used fraud proceeds to buy personal luxury items, including a 39-foot Midnight Express powerboat with triple 400 horsepower Mercury engines, also was ordered to pay over $1.8 million in restitution to victims.  

Defendant Carlos Miguel Rodriguez, Sr. a/k/a “Il Padrino,” 45, executed the fraud scheme with help from his son, daughter, and others, who are also convicted defendants in this case.  The swindle operated as follows: Rodriguez, Sr. and his daughter would purchase names, dates of birth, addresses, and social security numbers of unwitting bank customers on the dark web.  With the stolen information, Rodriguez, Sr.’s son accessed the victim’s bank accounts to change contact information to a phone number that he and his father controlled.  He also downloaded checks signed by the account holders to use as templates for counterfeit checks.  Once the counterfeit checks were ready, Rodriguez, Sr. would give them to other co-conspirators, tasking them with finding people who would visit the banks to cash the checks.  Sometimes, Rodriguez, Sr. recruited the check cashers himself, using people living on the street or in homeless shelters.  The fraudsters had counterfeit checks cashed at banks in South Florida and in California, Texas, and Utah – states to which they traveled for that purpose.  Rodriguez, Sr. deposited the cash from the counterfeit checks into different bank accounts to disguise the source of the money.

Rodriguez, Sr.’s sentence follows his guilty plea and conviction on January 29, 2020, on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Also sentenced yesterday for their roles in the fraud scheme were Rodriguez, Sr.’s son, Carlos Miguel Rodriguez, Jr., and Kenny Alfaro, to 52 months imprisonment and 46 months imprisonment, respectively.  Each was ordered to pay over $1.8 million in restitution.  On September 21, 2020, Raul Alpizar Gonzalez was sentenced to 52 months imprisonment and ordered to pay over $1.8 million in restitution.  On July 23, 2020, Rodriguez, Sr.’s daughter, Taily Rodriguez, and Maipu Fonseca, were sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment and credit time served, respectively.  Taily Rodriguez was ordered to forfeit her home.  All defendants are from Miami.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, United States Attorney, Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami Field Office, and Brian Swain, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, Miami Field Office, made the announcement.

FBI Miami and Secret Service Miami investigated this case.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Young prosecuted it.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Grosnoff is handling asset forfeiture.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 19-cr-20631.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Firearms Offenses
Contact: 
Marlene Rodriguez Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney Public Affairs Officer USAFLS.News@usdoj.gov
Updated December 23, 2020