Mexico resident sentenced on charges Monday
Acting U.S. Attorney Lynn Jordheim announced that on Monday, Marcos Gonzales-Celaya, 38, of Mexico, pleaded guilty and was sentenced before U.S. District Court Judge Daniel L. Hovland on one count of
reentry of a deported alien, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two counts of bank fraud.
Hovland sentenced Gonzales-Celaya to serve four years and nine months in
federal prison on the count of reentry of a deported alien, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Gonzales-Celaya was sentenced to serve two years and nine months in federal prison on the counts of bank fraud, to be followed by three years of supervised release. The sentences will run concurrently. Gonzales-Celaya was ordered to pay restitution of $77,197.83 and to pay a total of $400 in special assessments to the Crime
On Oct. 2, 2009, Gonzales-Celaya was driving a vehicle in Bismarck and was
stopped for speeding. He said he had a work visa, but did not have it in his possession. An investigation showed that Gonzales-Celaya was illegally present in the United States. He had been convicted of possession of controlled substance for sale in California in
2008. After serving a sentence for that offense, he was deported in 2009. He illegally re-entered the United States later in 2009, authorities said. After the illegal reentry arrest, Gonzales-Celaya was linked to the check cashing scheme described below.
From August 2009 through November 2009 in North Dakota, South Dakota,
Minnesota and Iowa, Gonzales-Celaya and others obtained blank payroll checks from various businesses. After making the checks payable to themselves, Gonzales-Celaya and others, presented or passed the checks at financial institutions across North Dakota and in other states. The suspects used false identification documents when presenting the
checks, and all of the checks were in varying amounts up to $1,000. The suspects were caught on bank surveillance presenting or passing the stolen checks.
The cases were investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Secret Service, Bismarck Police Department, Grand Forks Police Department, Fargo Police Department, Iowa City, IA, Police Department and Watertown (S.D.) Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brandi Sasse Russell and David Hagler
prosecuted the cases.