Ex-Marine charged with theft

A former Las Vegas resident was charged Wednesday in a federal indictment that alleges he stole nearly $40,000 from the bank accounts of 15 Marines while they were stationed in Iraq.

The indictment charges 24-year-old Edgar Alejandro Hermosillo, a former Marine who now lives in El Paso, Texas, with one count of conspiracy, one count of wire fraud and two counts of identity theft.

According to the indictment, which was returned in Las Vegas, Hermosillo was in the Marine Corps from 2001 until 2005. Before his discharge in May 2005, the document alleges, the defendant accessed U.S. computers in Camp Pendleton, Calif., and unlawfully obtained the victims’ bank account numbers and personal identifying information.

“This isn’t the type of activity we condone at all,” said 2nd Lt. Ken Kunze, a spokesman at Camp Pendleton. “We try our best to protect Marines — their financial well-being, as well as their lives.”

Kunze said neither he nor anyone in the media office at Camp Pendleton knew about the investigation or the indictment, which was returned late in the day. He said he could not immediately access Hermosillo’s military records.

Natalie Collins, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Las Vegas, said Hermosillo lived in Las Vegas sometime after his discharge from the Marines. Attempts to reach Hermosillo late Wednesday were unsuccessful.

A summons was issued for the defendant. He is scheduled to appear Feb. 1 for an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Johnston.

According to the indictment, Hermosillo conspired with “others known and unknown to the grand jury” to commit the crimes from about September 2005 through January 2006.

All of the victims’ bank accounts were located at the Pacific Marine Credit Union, which has branches at Camp Pendleton and elsewhere. The victims were identified in the indictment only by their first names and last initials.

According to the indictment, Hermosillo used the Internet to access the victims’ bank accounts without their consent, then caused funds to be transferred from the victims’ accounts to accounts belonging to him and his relatives.

It alleges Hermosillo “made or caused to be made telephone calls” to the credit union and impersonated account holders. The indictment alleges that he fraudulently induced credit union employees to wire money from the bank accounts to Western Union locations in Nevada, Texas and New Mexico.

Also, the indictment accuses Hermosillo of creating and producing several false U.S. identification cards bearing his photograph and the names of account holders.

“Defendant and an unknown co-conspirator presented these false identification cards to several Western Union locations in Nevada, Texas and New Mexico, and fraudulently obtained money from the accounts of several Marines,” the indictment alleges.

According to the indictment, 26 bank accounts were compromised for a total loss of $39,094.

The indictment alleges that Hermosillo caused unauthorized wire transfers from victims’ accounts in Camp Pendleton to a Western Union in Las Vegas on Oct. 25, 2005, and on Oct. 28, 2005. The indictment also alleges that the defendant caused an unauthorized wire transfer from a victim’s account in Camp Pendleton to a Western Union in Henderson on Dec. 2, 2005.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Gattinella is prosecuting the case, which is being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0264.

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