After pleading guilty to two counts of money laundering on Monday, December 6, a Beaumonter, 65, was sentenced to four years in prison and $ 18,000 in restitution after defrauding businesses and a church for more than $ 100,000.
According to a probable cause affidavit prepared by JSCO Detective Jeffery Chadney, between June 22 and July 1, 2019, Reuben Alvarez Sr. knowingly – and fraudulently – received approximately $ 105,000 from numerous people at across the country, according to the indictment. The alleged thief withdrew the money by purchasing gift cards, cashier’s checks and wire transfers.
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Ross Bridge, Alabama was billed $ 17,640 for the “consulting” work Alvarez allegedly performed. Golf Trail CFO Stevan Williams has said he believes his company was the victim of an email scheme to benefit Alvarez’s bank account, in which a fictitious inter-office email guaranteed unpaid funding. and.
“According to an affidavit from Willams,” Chadney said, “Alvarez had never done any contract work for them and they had sent him a check the next day based on the fraudulent payment claim.”
The United Methodist Church was also a victim, according to data Chadney was able to collect from Alvarez’s cell phone and police reports in Nashville, Tennessee. Chadney found proof of a check for $ 39,375 fraudulently obtained from the church, and another check for $ 29,580 reported by Nashville Police.
Among the scammer’s countless facades was also a Florida-based model who was half his age, according to reports from Detective Chadney. According to an affidavit prepared by a banker suspicious of Alvarez’s actions, Alvarez told the credit union that he was receiving money from the inheritance of a Peggy Smith in Washington. And that the money was going from Smith to Alvarez to pay a lawyer, John Hesse, for a divorce. Alvarez then changed the story to say that the money was going to Hesse for his help in selling a property in Kansas. Alvarez’s testimony was a text from Smith.
Hesse told the detective that he had never met Alvarez before, but that to his knowledge he was exchanging funds with a woman from Beaumont working as a model in Tampa, Florida. According to Hesse, he agreed to receive the model’s “back wages” owed to him by Alvarez. Hesse was instructed to transfer the money to an electronic currency called Bitcoin and return the money to the fake actress’ Bitcoin wallet.
Chadney explained to Hesse that he was the victim of a romance scam and advised her to change her account numbers to thwart further criminal activity. Hesse agreed to complete an affidavit and provide a copy of the documents to support his story.
The only legitimate sources of income the detectives found on Alvarez’s accounts were from his monthly Social Security benefits at $ 1,656 and his retirement benefits at $ 825.15.