Woman pleads guilty to bank fraud


A woman accused of using another person’s ATM card 46 times to fraudulently withdraw over $800 from the real owner’s personal savings account at Bank of Guam has pleaded guilty in federal court.

Esperanza E. Ellis pleaded guilty to bank fraud as part of a plea deal. The offense that carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

Ellis will be sentenced on Feb. 20, 2015. She remains free until then under the same pre-trial conditions.

After discussing the issue with the prosecution and the defense counsel, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona determined that Bank of Guam is not a victim in this case.

Assistant U.S. attorney Ross Naughton appeared for the U.S. government. Attorney Bruce Berline served as counsel for Ellis.

Ellis is the registered owner of, and sole registered recipient, at P.O. Box 504858 on Saipan.

In June or July of 2012, Ellis received an ATM bank card from Bank of Guam through PO Box 504858. This ATM card was in the name of Silvia C. Macato. Ellis does not know Macato or have any relation to her.

Around the same time, Ellis received from BOG a personal identification number to go with the ATM card that she received.

On several occasions in 2012, Ellis used the ATM card and PIN several times to withdraw at least $800 from Macato’s account.

By using Macato’s ATM card and PIN, Ellis was stating to BOG that she had authority to access Macato’s bank account.

Ellis knew that she did not have authority to access Macato’s bank account, and that the money she was obtaining did not belong to her.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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