Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the indictment of 14 individuals for their involvement in a scheme through which they gained online access to the personal checking and savings accounts of unsuspecting bank customers to steal funds from these accounts.
Charged in the indictment are defendants Ibrahin Elias, 24, of Hialeah;
Dalbert Hernandez, 22, of Miami; Victor Batista, 22, of Hialeah; Roger Lores,
23, of Hialeah; Aniuta Castro-Ruiz, 53, of Hialeah; Dayan Galarraga, 40, of
Hialeah; Yanelis Curbera, 34, of Hialeah; Dalmis Gonzalez, 30, of Hialeah;
Yoleisy Legarde, 29, of Miami; Howard Mitchell, 27, of Miami; Yovani Gonzalez,
26, of Miami; Idalma Chaskel Kessel, 45, of Hialeah; Maribel Perez, 23, of
Hialeah; and Edisbel Rodriguez, 36, of Miami. Defendants Elias, Hernandez,
Batista, Lores, Castro-Ruiz, Curbera, D. Gonzalez, Legarde, Mitchell, Y.
Gonzalez, Kessel, Perez, and Rodriguez were arrested in Miami earlier today are
expected to make their initial appearances in federal court at 1:30 p.m. before
U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres. Defendant Galarraga remains at large.
According to the allegations in the indictment, Ibrahin Elias used stolen
personal identification information of unwitting bank customers, including
names, birthdates, and Social Security numbers, to impersonate bank customers
and access their accounts through their banks’ website. Once Elias had control
of an account, Elias transferred funds to accomplices, who made their own accounts
available to receive the stolen money. Elias also ordered checks which were used
to drain victims’ accounts. Elias is charged with conspiring to commit bank fraud, in violation of Title 18,
United States Code, Section 1349; 16 counts of substantive bank fraud, in
violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344; three counts of
aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section
1028A; and one count for destruction of evidence, in violation of Title 18,
United States Code, Section 1519.
The indictment alleges that defendants Dalbert Hernandez and Victor Batista
received stolen funds and recruited others to participate in the scheme.
Hernandez and Batista are both charged with conspiring to commit bank fraud, and Batista is charged
with four substantive bank fraud counts.
According to the charges, defendants Roger Lores, Aniuta Castro-Ruiz, Dayan
Galarraga, Yanelis Curbera, and Dalmis Gonzalez received stolen funds by means
of electronic online transfers and charged a fee for this service. Once the
defendants received the stolen funds, they and others made withdrawals from
different locations and returned the bulk of the proceeds to their handlers.
They are charged with conspiring to commit bank fraud and substantive bank fraud
Lastly, defendants Yoleisy Legarde, Howard Mitchell, Yovani Gonzalez, Idalma
Chaskel Kessel, Maribel Perez, and Edisbel Rodriguez, are alleged to have cashed
stolen checks obtained through Elias’ online fraud. They are charged with
conspiring to commit bank fraud and
substantive bank fraud violations.
If convicted, each defendant charged with conspiracy and bank fraud
violations faces a potential maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in prison.
Additionally, Elias faces mandatory consecutive two-year sentences for each
conviction for aggravated identity theft and a potential maximum sentence of 20
years in prison for attempting to destroy evidence.
Mr. Ferrer commended the
investigative efforts of the FBI. The
case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Rochlin.
An indictment is only an allegation, and every defendant is presumed innocent
until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States
Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at
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