Man accused of participating in check fraud

Ibis Fuentes

A California man booked at the Mesa County Jail was part of an alleged check fraud ring that targeted 10 western Colorado communities and committed crimes in six other states, according to a grand jury indictment obtained by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

Ibis Fuentes, 33, of Englewood, Calif., was among nine people indicted on charges of theft as a series, forgery, criminal impersonation, and violation of Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act. Fuentes has been wanted in Colorado since October 2009. He was transported by the Sheriff’s Department from California and booked at the Mesa County Jail on Monday to face the state charges.

According to the indictment, members of the alleged criminal enterprise involving Fuentes created shell corporations, Mount Rocky Logistics and Expo Banquet, which allowed the group to use checks associated with the business’ accounts to commit thefts. The accounts for the bogus businesses were set up at US Bank and Bank of America.

“The amount of money used to open the checking accounts was nominal — just enough to open the accounts,” the indictment alleges.

Thousands of dollars worth of checks were allegedly passed at businesses — usually grocery chain stores — in Grand Junction, Delta, Rifle, Olathe, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Aspen, Montrose, Durango and Parachute, according to the indictment.

“Law enforcement officers have evidence that this criminal enterprise committed additional thefts, forgeries and check frauds in California, Nevada, Illinois, Texas, Florida and Missouri,” reads the indictment.

All the activity allegedly happened between September 2008 and January 2009, the indictment said.

The indictment specifies between Sept. 24, 2008, and Sept. 28, 2008, Fuentes passed multiple checks at Moda Latina Inc., in Eagle, and passed more checks between Jan. 5, 2009, and Jan. 9, 2009, at City Market in Durango.

The organization allegedly stole up to $20,000 over a roughly four-month period.


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