SCSO: Detectives arrest 14 people in connection with a fraud scheme after more than $130,000 was stolen from Sarasota banking institutions  

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SCSO: Detectives arrest 14 people in connection with a fraud scheme after more than $130,000 was stolen from Sarasota banking institutions

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested 14 people in connection with a fraud scheme after more than $130,000 was stolen from Sarasota banking institutions over a six-month period.

Detectives launched their investigation in March 2018, after being alerted to a group of people cashing fraudulent checks at several banks in Sarasota. Through investigation detectives learned Wilfredo Lopez provided counterfeit checks to Eliener Castano-Paredes, who in turn, recruited individuals to cash the counterfeit checks through coordinated bank transactions. From December 2017 through May 2018, the recruits kept a percentage of the transactions as payment while Castano-Paredes returned the remaining cash directly to Lopez. The transactions took place two to three times a day at banks near I-75 from Brandon to Fort Myers. Over the course of six months, 26 transactions were conducted in Sarasota County alone, resulting in a loss of $131,906. In total, officials believe Lopez and his group conducted more than 50 transactions stealing nearly $275,000 from banks throughout the state of Florida.

Lopez, DOB 10/06/89, of Miami, and Castano-Paredes, DOB 12/13/96, of Wesley Chapel, are each charged with one count of Scheme to Defraud Over $50k. To date, 12 additional individuals have been identified and charged, however the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.

Giomar Almanza-Ibarra, DOB 07/20/97, of Tampa, is charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument.

Jimmy Moran, DOB 03/03/83, of Tampa, is charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument and Grand Theft.

Taylor Beverly, DOB 11/30/98, of Tampa, is charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument and Grand Theft.

Peter Sansone, DOB 07/24/68, of Tampa, is charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument and Grand Theft.

Orlando Valdes-Borroto, DOB 12/26/93, of Tampa, is charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument and Grand Theft.

Melissa Burriss, DOB 10/24/85, of Tampa, is charged with Criminal Use of Personal Identification and Grand Theft.

Kerlis Jimenez, DOB 08/31/83, of Tampa, is charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument and Grand Theft.

Jaime Amoguea-Fonseca, DOB 09/26/87, of Tampa, is charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument and Grand Theft.

Christian Castillo-Hernandez, DOB 03/25/99, of Tampa, is charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument and Grand Theft.

Alejandro Santamaria-Llabona, DOB 05/07/00, of Tampa, is charged with Criminal Use of Personal Identification and Grand Theft.

Jose Rodriguez, DOB 06/02/97, of Ocoee, is charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument and Grand Theft.

Harold Romero-Rodriguez, DOB 05/01/99, of Tampa, is charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument and Grand Theft.

“This was a very thorough investigation thanks to the relentless work of our detectives over the course of several months,” commented Sheriff Tom Knight. “Let this be a message to those who think they can target our community and our businesses, that their criminal behavior is not welcome here.”




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