Los Angeles, California - A former Dunbar Armored employee has pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy and bank theft charges contained in a grand jury indictment that alleges a scheme to smuggle $300,000 in cash out of Dunbar’s storage facility in Vernon.
Eric Miranda, 37, of East Los Angeles, was arraigned on November 2 and, while bond was set, he remains in federal custody at this time.
Miranda was arrested on October 21 as he entered the United States from Mexico, and he subsequently made his first court appearance in federal court in San Diego. He was arraigned after being transported to Los Angeles by the United States Marshals Service.
Miranda is named in a four-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit bank theft from the Dunbar cash storage facility. He also is charged with three counts of bank theft.
The indictment alleges that Miranda stole cash from the Dunbar vault by using “dummy” stacks of $100 bills that he switched out for real stacks of $100,000. First, Miranda created “dummy” stacks of $100,000 by taking hundreds of $1 bills and sandwiching them between $100 bills – in order to make them appear to be stacks of $100 bills totaling $100,000. Miranda allegedly then smuggled the “dummy” stacks into the Dunbar vault, where he and his co-conspirator switched them for real stacks of $100,000. Miranda and his co-conspirator then marked the dummy stacks to ensure they were not placed into circulation. Finally, Miranda smuggled the real stacks of money out of the vault room by hiding it in a postal box. On more than three occasions in late 2017 and early 2018, Miranda smuggled a total of approximately $300,000 out of the Dunbar facility.
At his arraignment on Friday, Miranda was ordered to stand trial on December 18.
If convicted of the charges in the indictment, Miranda would face a statutory maximum sentence of 35 years in federal prison.
Miranda’s alleged co-conspirator – Monique Castruita, 35, of Maywood – has also been charged in relation to this case and is scheduled to be arraigned later this month.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
The case was investigated by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who received substantial assistance from the City of Vernon Police Department.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey M. Chemerinsky and Joseph D. Axelrad of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.