State grand jury indicts local fraud suspect

A man arrested earlier this year in Mesa County is accused of being part of a national check fraud ring that defrauded businesses in at least 10 western Colorado cities, including Grand Junction, according to a state grand jury indictment.

Jorge Martinez Gomez, 26, was a ordered held Wednesday on $200,000 bond at the Mesa County Jail on charges including racketeering and felony theft between $1,000 and $20,000.

Gomez was among seven people named in a Denver grand jury indictment that alleges they worked together from Sept. 24, 2008, through Jan. 7 and violated Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act.

The indictment alleges that Gomez and others created shell corporations and opened accounts at two banks, while members of the group used fake identities to cash checks at businesses, including at least one Grand Junction City Market store.

The group passed a series of checks in amounts less than $500, according to the indictment. A total dollar figure in the fraud scheme is not specified.

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

Gomez has been held at the Mesa County Jail since his arrest in January on suspicion of passing bad checks at a local City Market store, according to an arrest affidavit.

Federal immigration authorities placed a hold on Gomez as a suspected illegal immigrant, which has prevented him from posting bond.

Aside from Gomez, two others linked to the group have been arrested: Salvador Ramirez, 21, and Veronica Ruiz Alaya, 33.

Four more named in the indictment are still wanted: Miguel Angel Villalpando Rodriguez, 27, Oscar Gomez, 23, Ibis Fuentes, 30, and Efrain Reyes, 34.

Mike Saccone, spokesman for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, said the case was referred for prosecution earlier this year by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.


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