Media Contact: Lawrence Valett (202) 565-3908
Washington DC – April 19, 2011. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) announced today that Ismael Garcia, 50, of Miami, Florida was sentenced on April 18, 2011 for his role in a scheme to defraud the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) of more than $23 million. The sentencing capped a joint investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, El Paso, Texas, and Ex-Im Bank OIG Special Agents concerning fraudulent loans and exports to borrowers in Mexico and elsewhere.
Garcia was sentenced by Judge Richard W. Roberts in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC to 51 months imprisonment, 36 months of supervised release, $17,996,054 in restitution, $23,084,175 in forfeiture, a $200 special assessment, and 100 hours of community service upon release. Garcia had previously pleaded guilty on October 19, 2010 to a two-count criminal information charging him with conspiracy to defraud the Ex-Im Bank and to commit wire fraud.
According to court documents, Garcia was President of US Trade Industries Inc., an export company in Miami, Florida, that purported to be in the business of purchasing United States goods on behalf of foreign clients and shipping those goods overseas. Garcia admitted during his plea hearing that from April 2004 through November 2007, he acted as a purported exporter in approximately 31 loan transactions involving approximately $23 million in loans from U.S. lending banks which were insured by Ex-Im Bank. Garcia admitted during court proceedings that all of the loans were fraudulent and no goods or machinery of any kind were ever exported as reported to Ex-Im Bank. Garcia personally retained approximately $1.1 million of these fraudulently obtained loan proceeds for his personal use and benefit. The remaining monies were sent to other co-conspirators and foreign buyers in Mexico, instead of using the money to purchase and export U.S. manufactured goods as intended. According to court records, the loans defaulted, causing the Ex-Im Bank to pay nearly $18 million in losses.
The investigation caps significant efforts to combat fraud by the OIG Office of Investigations since reaching current staffing levels in 2009, which have since resulted in 44 criminal charges, numerous arrests, and millions of dollars in criminal forfeiture, restitution, and cost savings to the American taxpayer.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance, and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services. By charging fees and interest on all loan-related transactions, Ex-Im Bank is self-sustaining and is able to cover all operation costs and potential losses while also producing revenue. The Bank has generated $3.4 billion for U.S. taxpayers over the past five years.