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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Former Houston Banker Heads To Prison For Bank Fraud

HOUSTON – Carlos Lavin Ibarra, 34, of Houston, has been sentenced to federal prison following his conviction on one count of bank fraud, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Ibarra pleaded guilty July 9, 2014.

Today, U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas, who accepted the guilty plea, stated that the idea that a banker takes money out of someone else's account without authority must be sanctioned and handed Ibarra a sentence of 33 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. Defendant was not ordered to pay a fine. He was further ordered to pay $779,000 in restitution. 

Ibarra worked at JP Morgan Chase Bank in Houston. He admitted that while employed there, he purchased or caused to be purchased $779,000 in cashier’s checks on accounts owned by a person from Nigeria. This person was deceased at the time of the defendant’s actions and Chase was not advised of his death. The defendant admitted he acted fraudulently and without authority.
 
The cashier’s checks were all made payable to “Ben Leasing.” Ibarra admitted he caused another individual to obtain a certificate of operation under the assumed name of Ben Leasing from the County Clerk of Harris County and open a bank account in that name. However, that person refused to accept the cashier’s checks and Ibarra then re-deposited the checks at Chase. He further caused eight more cashier’s checks to be purchased in various amounts, payable to different individuals with whom Ibarra had a relationship. Three of these checks were subsequently exchanged for identical Chase cashier’s checks. All of the Chase cashier’s checks were deposited into different bank accounts in Houston.

Ibarra was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by the Secret Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney
Component(s): 
Updated April 30, 2015