BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge businessman accused of cashing stolen U.S. Treasury checks became the third person convicted in connection with Operation Checkmate.
Carlos Linares, 56, of Baton Rouge was found guilty on charges of theft of government funds, failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and two counts of obstruction of a federal proceeding,
Linares was arrested for cashing more than $1.6 million in fraudulently-obtained U.S. Treasury checks as part of Operation Checkmate, a federal investigation into several check cashing businesses in Baton Rouge that cashed nearly $4 million in stolen checks.
Linares ran Latinos Supermarket on Florida Blvd, where he cashed checks for a fee. In a 15-month time period from March 2012 through May 2013, he knowingly cashed more than 250 stolen checks, which had out-of-state addresses, worth more than $1.6 million.
Officials said Linares "knowingly failed to follow the requirements placed on him as a registered money service business and failed to prevent his store from being used to facilitate criminal activity and launder money." He also attempted to obstruct the Internal Service Revenue's efforts during the investigation.
Two others, 26-year-old Albelk Serrata, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and 36-year-old Anyelina Reyes, of Baton Rouge, were also convicted in Operation Checkmate. Both were found guilty of conspiring to steal government funds.
Serrata was sentenced to 37 months in prison and three years probation after his release. He was ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution and to forfeit another $220,000.
Reyes ran A&R Elite Team on Florida Boulevard and helped cash about 370 stolen U.S. Treasury checks worth $2.2 million. She was sentenced to serve 6 months in prison and two years probation after her release.
Linares is scheduled to be sentenced on May 19.