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Financial Crimes
03/12/2010

3 Puerto Rican men arrested for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Three Puerto Rican men indicted for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft where arrested Friday following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

According to the ICE investigation, Harry Maysonet, Angel Jimenez and Carlos Velez De Jesus, enriched themselves with monies illegally obtained from the Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PFCU) by submitting fraudulent automobile and personal loans in the name of third parties, some whom were deceased at the time of the application.

The March 10 indictment alleges that Maysonet would check the obituaries published in different newspapers of general circulation in Puerto Rico and submit loan applications using the names of the deceased. Other victims visited the car dealership but would later decide not to purchase a vehicle and were unaware that loan applications were submitted on their behalf, without their authorization.

The defendants obtained approximately $500,000 through the loan applications on behalf of deceased individuals and potential buyers.

Maysonet was the owner of Harry Maysonet Auto Sales and Harry Entertainment Group, an organization dedicated to event planning.

Jiménez was an employee of the Puerto Rico Treasury Department and his duties included the preparation of reimbursement checks for taxpayers. He had access to the tax payer computerized database which contained confidential biographic identifying information, such as social security numbers, for all taxpayers in Puerto Rico.

ICE special agents executed a search warrant at the residence of Carlos Vélez De Jesús, an accountant who prepared tax returns used as part of Maysonet's scheme.

Agents found multiple articles used to produce false tax returns and W-2 certifications that were used to request loans on behalf of individuals who were either deceased or had not given authorization for said applications.

"Bank fraud victimizes innocent people and, as this case demonstrates, is often a gateway to further criminal activity," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, acting special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Puerto Rico. "ICE will continue to use its unique investigative authority to uncover illegal financial transactions in an effort to stop this type of fraudulent activity."

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ernesto López Soltero, acting chief of the white collar crime division.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $1,000,000.00.

All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.