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07/30/2012

Former CBP officer sentenced to prison for wire fraud

SAN DIEGO — A former San Diego-area officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) who defrauded individuals after promising to invest their money in a technical school was sentenced Friday to 115 days in federal prison, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

Dario Tomas, 53, of Oceanside, pleaded guilty in June to wire fraud after admitting he swindled $240,000 from two victims as part of a financial scheme he orchestrated while working for CBP in Busan, Korea, in 2007.

Tomas admitted to falsely promising the two investors, a U.S. serviceman and a South Korean national, that their money would go toward building a computer training school in the Philippines. Tomas furthered the scheme by sending electronic messages to the investors using fraudulent email accounts he set up under other people's names, and by making phone calls so it would appear the project was progressing. Tomas later admitted he lost the money gambling.

Tomas was arrested in October 2010 by special agents with ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assigned to the agency's attaché office in Manila, aided by officers from the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service and the Philippine National Bureau of Investigations. Tomas was then extradited to South Korea where he served a two-year prison term for the offense.

In April, Tomas was released from prison in South Korea and deported to the U.S. to face federal fraud charges brought in Southern California.

At his sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Janis L. Sammarinto also ordered Tomas to pay $240,000 in restitution to the two victims.