Bakersfield Relatives Plead Guilty to Fraud Schemes | USAO-EDCA

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FRESNO, Calif. — Charles Abieanga, 31, Viviana Cervantes, 23, and Simon Abieanga, 28, all of Bakersfield, pleaded guilty today to separate fraud charges, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Charles Abieanga and Viviana Cervantes, husband and wife, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft for their roles in two different fraud schemes. The first scheme involved submitting false claims to the California Employment Development Department and obtaining benefits associated with those claims. The second scheme involved impersonating a supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE) and defrauding hospitals by selling non-existent medical supplies including surgical gowns and N-95 protective masks. Charles Abieanga also pleaded guilty separately to a scheme involving the sale of non-existent pets, horses, and vehicles to victims online. Charles Abieanga and Viviana Cervantes’s conduct caused actual losses of over $210,000.

Simon Abieanga, Charles’s brother, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in a two separate, but similar, fraud schemes. The first scheme involved submitting false claims to the California Employment Development Department and obtaining benefits associated with those claims. Simon Abieanga’s second scheme involved the sale of non-existent pets, horses, and vehicles to victims online. Simon Abieanga’s conduct caused actual losses of over $105,000.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, the California Employment Development Department, and the Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexandre Dempsey and Joe Barton are prosecuting the case.

The brothers are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ana de Alba Jan. 17, 2023, and Cervantes is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 23, 2023. Charles Abieanga and Viviana Cervantes face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy to commit wire fraud and a mandatory two years in prison consecutive to any other sentence for the aggravated identity theft. Simon Abieanga faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.



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