FBI Arrests Lowell Man for $440,000 Embezzlement Scheme

FBIBOSTON—A Lowell man was arrested yesterday on bank fraud charges in connection with his theft of more than $440,000 from the Spain-based seafood and fish distributor for which he served as the United States representative.

Jorge Manuel Silva, 58, was indicted on 23 counts of bank fraud. He was released on conditions during his initial appearance today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell.

The indictment alleges that Silva was an independent contractor for Seaport Fish Co., a corporation established to distribute fish and seafood in the United States by Freiremar Group, headquartered in Spain. Silva was responsible for coordinating sales to Seaport customers, collecting customer payments, and depositing those payments into Seaport’s account at Bank of America. The indictment alleges that, from July 2008 through June 2010, Silva instead diverted more than $903,000 in Seaport customer checks to two accounts he held at Enterprise Bank in Lowell.

On occasion, Silva reimbursed Seaport with checks drawn on his Enterprise accounts several weeks or months after he had deposited the customer checks into those accounts. On other occasions, he used Seaport funds to pay personal expenses and the expenses for his other businesses. In this fashion, Silva diverted about $440,000 of Seaport funds to his own uses.

The charge of bank fraud provides a sentence of no greater than 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of $1 million. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra S. Bower of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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