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Latino Daily News

Sunday November 11, 2012

Mexican Pecan Exporter Sentenced to 4 Years For Scheme to Defraud Ex-Im Bank

The owner of a pecan brokerage company in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, was sentenced today to serve 48 months in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) of approximately $400,000.

Leopoldo Valencia-Urrea, 50, was sentenced by Judge Kathleen Cardone in U.S. District Court in El Paso, Texas.  Valencia pleaded guilty on Oct. 13, 2011, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering conspiracy in connection with a scheme to defraud the Ex-Im Bank of approximately $400,000. 

In addition to his prison term, Valencia was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $58,000 in restitution and $399,075 in forfeiture.

According to court documents, Valencia, a U.S. citizen, was the owner of a pecan brokerage company in Ciudad Juarez and resided in El Paso.  Valencia admitted that in 2006, he applied for an Ex-Im insured loan for $406,258 through a bank in Miami. 

As part of his fraudulent loan application, Valencia and others submitted a fraudulent loan application, financial statements, invoices, letters and bills of lading to falsely represent to the Miami bank and the Ex-Im Bank the purchase and export of U.S. goods to Valencia in Mexico. 

After the exporter who conspired with Valencia received $399,075 from the Miami bank, Valencia and others diverted the loan proceeds directly to Valencia and others in Mexico.  As a result of the fraud, Valencia’s loan defaulted, causing the Ex-Im Bank to pay a claim to the lending bank on a $371,962 loss.