Chicago residents indicted for scamming North Pole restaurant out of $128,000

An Alaska federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging a Chicago man and woman with running a scheme to defraud a North Pole restaurant of more than $128,000.

From July to August 2022, Jacob Centeno, 39, and Amber Davila, 35, allegedly illegally obtained restaurant and restaurateur banking and identification information by accessing their email.

The duo used this information and access to falsely represent themselves as the owner and divert funds from the owner’s bank account to another account registered under a false identity that the defendants had created and had access to.

In total, approximately $128,246 was diverted to the defendants’ fraudulent bank account between August 4 and 9, 2022.

As part of the scheme, Centeno and Davila allegedly purchased more than $41,000 worth of money orders from the fraudulent bank account over the course of several days in Chicago.

They are accused of depositing the money orders into their various personal and professional accounts for total amounts less than $10,000. Finally, to further conceal their scheme, they laundered the funds by withdrawing money from a business account registered in their name and depositing it into their personal accounts.

Centeno and Davila were arrested in Chicago on June 4 and are charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and eight counts of money laundering. .

If convicted, they face a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for aggravated identity theft, which is served consecutively to any other sentence for their alleged crimes. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.