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Fraud case suspects make court appearance

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By Tris DeRoma

Two suspects in a $50,000 computer fraud case made their first appearance in district court Wednesday.
Ryan Roller, 31, already free on bond, was the first to appear. His $10,000 surety bond was simply carried over to the district court from magistrate, and he was told to stay in regular contact with the courts. District Court Judge Sheri Raphaelson has yet to set a hearing or a trial date for Roller or Fernando Rodriguez. Roller is being charged with third-degree felony conspiracy for his role in the crime.
The other suspect, Fernando Rodriguez, also 31, is still in custody. At his hearing before the judge Wednesday, Rodriguez’ attorney, Bill Snowden, wanted it dropped to $15,000. District Attorney Kent Wahlquist urged Raphaelson to keep his bond at $30,000, cash-only.
“Your honor, the defendant, all told, has two habitual offenses, and that adds four years to each of the counts of criminal information and he has six counts of criminal information. All told, he could be looking at a total of 48 years if these counts were to run consecutively, Walquist said. “... I think with the time he’s facing he is a flight risk.”
Wahlquist said Rodriguez also just finished probation for other various misdemeanors as well.
Snowden countered that Rodriguez had family in the area, and so flight risk was minimal.
“He has also showed up to all his court dates always prepared, and all we’re asking for is a $15,000 cash surety bond.
Judge Raphaelson kept the bond at $30,000 and ordered that if he is released, that he have no contact with Roller.
Rodriguez was charged with three counts of attempting to use a computer to illegally attempt withdrawals of $3,900 each (more than $2,500, less than $20,000); one count of attempting to use a computer to embezzle $8,700 (more than $2,500, less than $20,000); one count of attempting to use a computer to embezzle $8,700 (more than $2,500, less than $20,000); one count of attempting to use a computer to embezzle $10,000 (more than $2,500, less than $20,000) and one count of attempting to use a computer to embezzle $21,000 (more than $20,000).
According to court documents on the case, Rodriguez and another woman allegedly conspired to move $30,000 out of a victim’s bank account to accounts set up by Rodriguez’ mother and Roller.
The scheme was to move the cash to his mother’s account at Los Alamos National Bank first, then onto Roller’s account.
Los Alamos police foiled the plan however when in November, a bank official alerted the LAPD to the $50,000 being moved through the accounts.
By the time the two were arrested, Rodriguez had already allegedly bought a Honda Prelude, as well as, four Walmart gift cards at a $1,000 each with the money before he was stopped.