☷Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud and Submitting False Documents
Federal Bureau of Investigation ( By Press Release office)
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Albuquerque man pleads guilty to bank fraud and submitting false documents ALBUQUERQUE , N . M . – Rick Benavidez , 47 , of Albuquerque , pleaded guilty on April 29 in federal court to two counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of submitting fraudulent returns , statements or other documents to the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) . Benavidez will remain on release pending sentencing , which has not been scheduled . A federal grand jury indicted Benavidez on Feb . 27 , 2019 . According to the plea agreement and other court records , from April 18 , 2013 , to May 31 , 2013 , Benavidez conspired with Damian Maron , and another man to submit fraudulent documentation , including altered pay stubs , to two credit unions to receive automobile loans . The altered pay stubs , which were provided to the applicant by Benavidez , supported a false claim that the applicant’s annual income was $85 , 000 , when in fact it was only approximately $8 , 000 for 2013 . The loan applications at both credit unions used the title for the same car , a 2007 Mercedes S Class , which was not for sale and which none of the men had any intention of purchasing . The funds were disbursed to “Automotive Express , Inc . , ” a fictitious car dealership . The conspirators split the money , and the loan went into default . Benavidez admitted in his plea that the fraudulently obtained loans in the guise of purchasing the Mercedes were part of a larger scheme using multiple straw applicants to obtain similar loans . As a result , defrauded financial institutions disbursed a total of $359 , 662 . 97 . Benavidez also acknowledged an additional loan scheme involving another alleged conspirator , Willie Lee Edwards , who is currently wanted by the FBI . The conspirators in this second scheme applied for a total of $1 , 154 , 493 . 42 , of which $999 , 993 . 42 was disbursed by financial institutions . After being charged with conspiracy and bank fraud , Benavidez submitted a false document to the IRS purporting to designate the assigned U . S . District Court judge as his fiduciary , knowing that the designation was false because the judge had not agreed to it and was not , nor had he ever been , Benavidez ' s legal fiduciary . Maron pleaded guilty on March 10 , 2020 , to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of bank fraud , and is currently awaiting sentencing . Maron faces up to 30 years in prison . By the terms of the plea agreement , Benavidez faces between 51 and 63 months in prison . The FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations ( HSI ) , the U . S . Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration , and the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General . Assistant United States Attorneys Sean J . Sullivan and Taylor F . Hartstein are prosecuting the case . # # #
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