Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Man sentenced to 8 years for bank fraud, witness tampering

By on October 17, 2018

SAN JUAN – U.S. District Court Judge Aida Delgado-Colón sentenced José Andrés Colón-Santos to eight years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for bank fraud and tampering with a witness, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced Wednesday.

The court ordered the defendant to make restitution payments to 12 elderly victims, for a total of nearly $74,000.

On May 2, Colón-Santos plead guilty to committing bank fraud and tampering with a witness “by intimidation, threats, corrupt persuasion or misleading conduct,” a Justice Department release reads.

Colón-Santos admitted to having “unlawfully enriched himself by obtaining bank account information and personal identifying information (social security number, date of birth, address as well as credit/debit card and PIN numbers) from victims whose ages ranged from 69 to 83 years old.”

Colón-Santos would obtain the name and number of his victims from a telephone book. He would then call them and procure their personal identifying information by impersonating a bank officer. After obtaining their information, he would take control of the victims’ bank accounts by calling the bank to change the addresses in the account and request replacement cards, according to his guilty plea.

He would use the new ATM cards to withdraw funds for his personal use, the agency said.

“Whenever the bank account owner was a female, co-defendant Erika Rosado-Matías would impersonate the bank account owner to request the change of address and replacement cards,” the release added.

Colón-Santos was also sentenced for threatening a 75-year-old female with physical harm if she provided information to law enforcement agents.

“The prosecution of this case and the severity of this sentence should serve to reassure the public that we are paying close attention to the well-being of our elders, and that we will spare no expense to take fraudsters off the streets,” Rodríguez-Vélez said. “I urge everyone to take steps to protect their personally identifiable information (PII) from criminals who seek illicit profits through fraudulent schemes.”

The criminal prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennise N. Longo-Quiñones. The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with the assistance of the Puerto Rico Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations.

Rosado-Matías plead guilty July 31, and her sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 22.

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