Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Puerto Rico Resident Sentenced to More Than 13 Years in Prison for Bank Fraud Scheme
On April 4, 2016, Rosa E. Castrillón-Sánchez, a resident of Puerto Rico, was sentenced to 159 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $5 million in restitution to victims affected by a scheme to defraud individuals and financial institutions on the island.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Pedro Gomez, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), Puerto Rico Office, Carlos Cases, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Puerto Rico Office, and Monsita Lecaroz, Assistant United States Trustee, Office of the United States Trustee, made the announcement.
Castrillón-Sánchez pled guilty on December 13, 2013 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028(a)(1).
According to court documents, Castrillón-Sánchez befriended individuals and falsely represented that she was the beneficiary to a Certificate of Deposit (“CD”) or trust for a large amount of money that was frozen at a local bank in Puerto Rico. Castrillón-Sánchez would request that an individual provide her with a sum of money or take out a personal loan to assist in the releasing of the funds – with full repayment promised as soon as the CD was unfrozen. As part of the scheme, Castrillón-Sánchez and other co-conspirators used false documents and lease agreements to obtain some of the loans and would distribute payments to individuals using Western Union wire transfers and money orders. From April 2005 to March 2010, Castrillón-Sánchez and her co-conspirators fraudulently induced over 90 individuals to loan the defendant over $5,000,000 in cash, based on false representations and promises that the individuals would be repaid in a short period of time.
Castrillón-Sánchez’s conspired with her mother Rosa Sanchez Mercado, Jorge Rivera Izquierdo, and others to use proceeds from the fraudulent scheme. Castrillón-Sánchez stored documents used to facilitate the scheme at the home she shared with Sanchez Mercado. Rivera Izquierdo assisted with the purchase of a Toyota Sequoia on September 13, 2008, using $40,000 of proceeds from the fraudulent scheme as down payment. On May 29, 2009, Rivera Izquierdo assisted with the purchase of a second vehicle, a BMW 335i, using $63,419.50 of proceeds from the scheme as payment for the vehicle.
Rivera Izquierdo was found guilty, at trial, of two counts of money laundering in connection with the purchase of the two vehicles using money derived from the fraudulent scheme. Rivera Izquierdo was sentenced on April 27, 2015 to 42 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $201,503.73.
Co-defendants Carmen Sosa Barreto, Luis Roriguez Barreto, Limarie Amalbert Birriell, Amarilys Pagan Estrella, and Noemi Delgado Alice previously pled guilty and were sentenced to probation.
Sanchez Mercado pled guilty on February 1, 2013 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. Sanchez Mercado is scheduled to be sentenced on May 3, 2016.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, USSS, and FBI, and thanked the United States Trustee’s Office for its assistance. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney H. Ron Davidson and Special Attorneys to the Attorney General Charles R. Walsh and Luke V. Cass.