COVID-19 Fraudsters Charged in Utah for Allegedly Manufacturing, Selling and Distributing at least 120,000 Counterfeit COVID-19 Vaccination Cards
Salt Lake City, Utah – A federal grand jury in Utah returned an indictment charging a New York man with bank fraud and aggravated identity fraud throughout the District of Utah.
According to court documents, Clemente Castracucco, 61, of the Bronx, New York, planned and executed a scheme to defraud Bank of Utah, First Utah Bank, First Community Bank, and Zions Bank of at least of $47,000 between November 9, 2022, and December 16, 2022. The purpose of the scheme was to defraud financial institutions by depositing counterfeit checks into accounts at the victims’ banks, then proceed to fraudulently withdraw funds from the bank accounts using account information and identification that was not Castracucco’s. On one occasion, according to the complaint and law enforcement affidavit, Castracucco entered a First Utah Bank branch in Salt Lake City and deposited a $4,500 fraudulent check, which was drawn on the account of two individuals and made payable to a Utah business. Castracucco then withdrew $7,500 from the First Utah Bank account and presented a fraudulent United States passport card purporting to be a signer on the business account and forged the signature on the check. The signer, a Utah resident, was unaware of the transaction and did not authorize it. Castracucco was arrested by the Saratoga Police Department after officers responded to a call at a Zions Bank branch to report a male attempting to cash a check not made out him. He later self-identified as Castracucco.
Castracucco is charged with six counts of bank fraud and six counts of aggravated identity fraud. The defendant is scheduled for his initial court appearance on the indictment March 23, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 8.4 before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah.
U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins for the District of Utah made the announcement.
The case is being investigated jointly by the United States Department of State Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) and numerous local police departments.
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Jamie Z. Thomas, of the District of Utah prosecuted the case.
Public Affairs Specialist