FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Office of Inspector General (202) 565-3908
WASHINGTON, DC, February 22, 2010 - The Office of Inspector General of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im OIG) announces that Oswaldo Kuchle-Lopez, of Mexico, was indicted February 10, 2010, by a federal grand jury in El Paso, Texas, in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). Kuchle-Lopez was detained by Customs and Border Protection officers on Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry and then arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agents.
According to the indictment, in 2004, Kuchle-Lopez, with the assistance of co-conspirators, entered into a $1,997,458.00 loan agreement for the purpose of purchasing equipment including cement pumper trucks, cement mixer trucks, and dump trucks. The loan proceeds were wired to an account held by Kuchle-Lopez. That loan was insured by the Ex-Im Bank. Instead, the indictment alleges that Kuchle-Lopez signed a letter falsely stating that the equipment had been received by him in Mexico. According to the charges, Kuchle-Lopez ceased to make the required loan payments that resulted in a default, causing the Ex-Im Bank to pay the claim in August 2007.
The indictment further alleges that, in another transaction, Kuchle-Lopez obtained another Ex-Im Bank guaranteed loan under his Mexican company known as Rancho Santa Marcela. Kuchle-Lopez obtained this loan through a lender in the amount of $1,309,688.00 for the purchase of agricultural equipment. The proceeds of the loan were to be used to purchase goods made in the United States which were never exported. The indictment alleges that this loan also resulted in a default, causing the Ex-Im Bank to pay a claim in October 2007.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent, self-sustaining U.S. Government agency that assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to markets around the world through export credit insurance, loan guarantees, and direct loans. The schemes were discovered pursuant to a joint investigation by the Ex-Im Bank Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation – El Paso Field Division, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in El Paso.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.