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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Seven Charged In Bank Fraud Scheme

ERIE, Pa. – Seven individuals from four states have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie on charges of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The two-count indictment named Andres Prieto, 32, of Boynton Beach, Florida; Vincent DeLaPena, 63, of Los Angeles, California; Eric Mathew Benavides, 45, of Covina, California; Trieu Phuong Nguyen, 48, of Erie, Pennsylvania; Willie Hugh Joy, 44 of Alpharetta, Georgia; Yenny M. Romero, 32, of Boynton Beach, Florida; and Bart Derrick Alexander, 47, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida as defendants.

According to the indictment presented to the court, from in and around January 2009, to in and around January 2013, the defendants engaged in a “loan program” in which a hierarchy of “brokers”, “managers”, “processors” and “straw borrowers” falsified bank loan documents and supporting documentation in order to obtain various auto and consumer loans and lines of credit from 21 banks and credit unions.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 60 years in prison, a fine of $1,250,000 or both for each defendant. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.

Assistant United States Attorney Marshall J. Piccinini is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Secret Service conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated July 14, 2015