Admitted to Informing Co-Defendant Boyfriend of a $314,000 Cash Withdr…

Admitted to Informing Co-Defendant Boyfriend of a $314,000 Cash Withdrawal

SAN JOSE – LAWFUEL – Christina Marie Flores, a Customer Service Manager at a bank in Salinas, pleaded guilty today to a robbery in which she informed her boyfriend who then informed others about a $314,000 cash withdrawal by a bank customer who was later assaulted and robbed. Ms. Flores, 31, of Salinas, was employed by the Community Bank in Salinas, California, for one and a half years and was the Customer Service Manager on April 2, 2004, when the crime occurred.

This guilty plea is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office, and the FBI. Community Bank security personnel also assisted in the investigation.

In pleading guilty, Ms. Flores admitted to the following:

On April 2, 2004, the owner/operator of a convenience store and check cashing business in Salinas cashed a check at Community Bank in the amount of $314,125.00 ($300,000.00 of this was in $100 bills). Ms. Flores informed her boyfriend, Jorge Lopez of the specifics regarding the withdrawal. Lopez then informed Ramon Romero, Jose Campos, and other conspirators about the withdrawal. Shortly thereafter, the victim arrived at the location of her business and was assaulted and robbed by Mr. Romero.

Following the robbery, Ms. Flores and Mr. Lopez made a series of expenditures and purchases, using $100 bills almost exclusively. These purchases included a pleasure boat that was bought for $15,180 cash in May 2004.

Mr. Romero was followed by a citizen as he escaped and was arrested by police and identified by the victim later that day. Romero was charged in state court and entered into a plea bargain wherein he pleaded no contest in exchange for a sentence of two years imprisonment. He served his sentence and was deported to Mexico as an illegal alien.

On December 29, 2004, the Salinas Police Department executed a state search warrant in Salinas where Christina Flores lived with Jorge Lopez. During the course of the search two firearms were recovered from the garage, a Ruger .22 caliber rifle and a Ruger 9mm pistol, as well as ammunition for both. There was also a large hand drawn map of Salinas hanging on the wall, with several business locations and arrows reflecting apparent escape routes.

An extensive federal investigation resulted in the April 6, 2006, indictment of Ms. Flores, Mr. Lopez, and Mr. Campos on federal robbery charges. Mr. Campos is currently in custody and is currently scheduled for trial on May 21, 2006. Mr. Lopez is a fugitive.

Ms. Flores is scheduled to be sentenced on June 4, 2007, before Judge Ronald M. Whyte in San Jose. She is currently out of custody. The maximum statutory penalty for robbery is 20 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000.00, a 3 year supervised release term, and a $100 mandatory assessment. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Thomas O’Connell is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]

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