(STL.News) – A Hudson County, New Jersey, man today admitted participating in a scheme that involved defrauding financial institution customers of almost half a million dollars, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Ramon Herrera, 36, of Union City, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Between May 2015 and January 2018, Herrera used his position as a registered broker and financial advisor at a clearing services company associated with “Financial Institution-1” to meet and learn confidential information about Financial Institution-1 customers in the Hudson County area, for whom he was ostensibly providing advice and brokerage services. Herrera caused the Financial Institution-1 customers he was advising, many of whom were elderly and/or communicated with Herrera in Spanish, to sign blank withdrawal slips, which Herrera then completed and presented to bank tellers at Financial Institution-1 branches. Herrera directed the bank tellers to withdraw the money from the customers’ accounts in the form of cashier’s checks, which enabled Herrera to then apply the checks against the various personal accounts that Herrara and a family member maintained at Financial Institution-1. In total, Herrera stole more than $450,000 from approximately 40 Financial Instiution-1 customers. He used the stolen funds for his own purposes without the customers’ knowledge or authorization.
The conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine equal to the greater of $250,000 or twice the gain derived from or loss caused by the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 4, 2020.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer S. Kozar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Jason LeBoeuf Esq., Livingston, New Jersey