R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Miami Field Division, announced today that defendant Ricardo Figuerado, a former employee of Bank of America, has been charged with bank fraud arising from a multi-million dollar scheme to misappropriate funds from customer accounts. Figuerado was surrendered this morning, and will be making his initial appearance in magistrate court today at 1:30 p.m.
According to the criminal Information field in this matter, the defendant’s scheme dates back to the mid-1990s. At the start of the scheme, the defendant was employed by Barnett Bank. The defendant’s scheme allegedly continued as Barnett Bank merged into NationsBank in 1998 and into Bank of America later the same year, and did not conclude until May 2, 2008.
During the entire course of the scheme, the defendant’s responsibilities at the various banks included servicing customers who resided outside of the United States but who maintained accounts in South Florida. The Information alleges that the defendant targeted victim customers who resided outside of the United States and who held accounts with large deposits, generally exceeding $100,000. The defendant convinced the victim customers to conduct their banking business through him, while using various means to discourage the customers from obtaining records that would allow them to monitor their account activity. For instance, the defendant claimed that it was not safe for the customers to have account statements mailed to their home countries and that on-line banking was not secure.
The Information alleges that over the course of the scheme the defendant misappropriated more than $11 million in customer funds for personal investments in Guatemala, Spain, and elsewhere, and more than $1 million in customer funds to support his lavish lifestyle. Additionally, to perpetuate the scheme and avoid detection, the defendant also misappropriated more than $11 million from certain customers, and used this money to make periodic interest payments owed to other customers or to meet requests from customers to withdraw funds from their accounts.
This case will be heard by United States District Judge Paul C. Huck. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of thirty years.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Secret Service. Mr. Acosta also extended his gratitude to Bank of America for its cooperation and assistance in the investigation of this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davis.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.