Chicagoans indicted for swindling North Pole restaurant out of $128,000

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An Alaska federal grand jury returned an indictment charging a Chicago man and woman with running a scheme to defraud a North Pole restaurant of over $128,000.

From July to August 2022, Jacob Centeno, 39, and Amber Davila, 35, allegedly illegally obtained banking and identification information for the restaurant and restaurant owner by gaining access to their email.

The duo used this information and access to misrepresent themselves as the owner and divert proceeds from the owner’s bank account to a different account registered under a false identity that the defendants had created and had access to.

In total, roughly $128,246 was diverted to the defendants’ fraudulent bank account between Aug. 4 and Aug. 9, 2022.

As part of the scheme, Centeno and Davila allegedly purchased over $41,000 worth of money orders from the fraudulent bank account over the course of multiple days in Chicago.

They are charged with depositing the money orders into their various personal and business accounts in aggregate amounts of less than $10,000. Finally, to further conceal their scheme, they money laundered the funds by withdrawing money from a business account registered in their names and deposited it into their personal accounts.

Centeno and Davila were arrested in Chicago on June 4 and are charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, one count conspiracy to commit money laundering, and eight counts of money laundering.

If convicted, they face a mandatory minimum of two years for aggravated identity theft, which is served consecutive to any other sentence for their alleged crimes. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with AK – Jail these people and let them pay off the entire amount with minimum pay. Also, don’t forget to charge them room and board as well. And aggravated Identity Theft should be a much longer sentence, as also should be those who steal homes by paperwork. Just because they don’t use a gun is no indication that the crime does not do violence. If some criminal leaves your poor and vulnerable, he might as well have used a gun.

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