POSTED: Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 12:41pm
UPDATED: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 9:24am
MCALLEN, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — Armando Ruben Aleman, 28, of Weslaco, has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of one count of embezzlement, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Aleman pleaded guilty March 27, 2013, admitting he stole more than $190,000 from the bank account of a deceased customer of BBVA Compass Bank in Mission while Aleman was an employee at that bank.
U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, who accepted the guilty plea, sentenced Aleman to 12 months in federal prison without parole to be followed by two years of supervised release. At the hearing, testimony was presented by the heir to the deceased bank customer, who was entitled to receive the money in the account from which Aleman stole the funds. The heir told the court that while he harbored no resentment toward Aleman, the defendant had brought the consequences of his crime upon himself through his actions. Judge Alvarez noted that while the bank had paid the heir the money owed to him, the bank had not been able to recoup all of the lost amount from Aleman. Therefore, the court ordered Aleman to pay the remaining, unrecovered $61,772 in restitution to the bank.
In determining the sentence, the court considered that Aleman had used another bank customer’s identifying information to open a bank account without authorization in order to hide the stolen funds. The court noted that the customer, through no fault of his own, was experiencing difficulties opening bank accounts because of the account Aleman had fraudulently opened using that customer’s name.
At the time of the guilty plea, Aleman admitted that during more than half of last year, while he was employed at BBVA Compass Bank, he emptied a deceased client’s account before the executor of the client’s will could retrieve the funds.
Aleman withdrew cash and forged cashier’s checks in the deceased client’s name in order to steal the funds from his account. Then, Aleman transferred the funds into an account he opened at Chase Bank using a stolen identity from another person. Aleman managed to spend and transfer to himself more than $70,000 from the fraudulently-opened Chase account before his scheme was discovered and the bank froze the account.
Aleman was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This case was investigated by the Secret Service with the assistance of the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Sully prosecuted the case.