Santa Fe woman sentenced to a year in prison for illegally cashing U.S. Treasury checks


          ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Zayra Olivia Alvarado, 38, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, was sentenced on Sept. 8 to a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to five counts of theft of public money from the United States and one count of aiding and abetting the theft of public money from the United States. Alvarado pleaded guilty on Nov. 16, 2020.

          According to court records, in 2014 and 2015, Alvarado obtained U.S. Treasury tax refund checks that were fraudulently acquired. She used her position at Wells Fargo Bank to open accounts in the names of the people to whom the checks were issued or to search for accounts with names similar to those on the checks. Alvarado then either cashed the checks or deposited them into the accounts she had opened and withdrew funds from the accounts.

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          In addition to her prison term, Alvarado must pay restitution of $23,195. Upon her release from prison, Alvarado will be subject to three years of supervised release.

          IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Brawley and Steve Kotz prosecuted the case.

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