PROVIDENCE – A Bronx, N.Y. Man who admitted to his part in a conspiracy defrauding banks while working for the ring-leader of a multi-state fraud ring based in Rhode Island was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison Tuesday.
In September, Angel L. Morales, 52, of New York, N.Y, pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in various stolen identity and bank fraud schemes bilking banks, finance companies, car dealerships, and others in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and elsewhere out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Morales said he and others used stolen personal identifying information to open bank accounts as part of a scheme to obtain fraudulent car loans. Once funds from the loans were obtained, Morales deposited the funds into bank accounts he and others opened, quickly withdrawing the money before the bank issuing the loans discovered the fraudulent nature of the transactions.
United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman noted at the time that Morales, 52, is one of 10 people charged in a series of indictments and criminal complaints for their alleged participation in conspiracies where people used stolen personal identifying information to open credit union accounts online and bank accounts in person at various bank branch offices, obtained auto loans using fraudulent documentation, and then quickly withdrew the funds before the banks discovered the fraudulent activity.
Morales pleaded guilty on Sept. 3, 2019, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and three counts of bank fraud. He was sentenced on Tuesday to 36 months in federal prison to be followed by 3 years supervised release. Morales was also ordered to pay $116,000 restitution to the banks he defrauded, Weisman’s office reported.
Octavio Andres Difo-Castro, 28, of Brooklyn, New York, who previously admitted to the Court that he employed and directed several individuals, including Morales, and provided them with the stolen personal identifying information used in the fraud scheme, pleaded guilty on September 19, 2019, to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to access device fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and nineteen counts of wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 13, 2020.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland, with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha.