Hispanic Businessman Sentenced For Business Loan Fraud

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One businessman committed a rather unfruitful crime that drew the attention of federal investigators.

According to the Office of Inspector General for the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Gilberto Salazar-Escoboza, 49, made false statements to secure business loans for his produce companies based in Mexico.

The Export-Import Bank’s press release explained that Salazar-Escoboza, a Mexican national, had his business operations in Hermosillo, Mexico. He defrauded Frost National Bank in 2009 when he borrowed business loans to purchase U.S. manufactured equipment needed for his three produce and fruit companies.

A fraction of these business loans were insured by Ex-Im Bank, directly involving the United State’s federal government in the case.

An initial investigation was first launched when five checks written by Salazar-Escoboza were found to be false.

The Honorable Osvaldo L. Gratacos, Inspector General of the Office of Inspector General Export-Import Bank of the United States, said that the case was handled by Ex-Im Bank itself.

“Homeland security was not directly involved. They worked with us and were very engaged… [But] my agents led the investigation,” he said via phone, noting that the Office of the Inspector General maintains its own law enforcement personnel.

Salazar-Escoboza pled guilty in August 2012 but was only recently sentenced to pay $500,000 in fines along with serving a twelve month supervised release.

Gratacos said that supervised release, while similar to parole, involves the use of an electronic monitoring device; similar to what is commonly used on celebrities and criminals placed under house arrest.

All restitution owed by Salazar-Escoboza has been paid, according to Gratacos. He is unaware if Salazar-Escoboza is being prosecuted for related crimes in Mexico, where his business holdings exist.