Petra Del Bosque, a former banker from Zapata National Bank, and Anita Arredondo, an accounts payable clerk for a local construction company, have both plead guilty to bank fraud. Their cases stem from an October 2014 arrest for their part in a check cashing scheme prosecutors say lasted over two years and netted the duo close to $800,000.
The indictment stated that Arredondo used her position at the construction company to issue over 300 company checks, which she made payable to contractors. Del Bosque would then cash the checks at her bank, telling the tellers that she was working on the behalf of the contractors. Both women have plead guilty and face up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million.
What a Guilty Plea Means
The plea is a defendant’s response to the charges against him or her. By pleading guilty a defendant is formally saying that he/she admits that he/she has committed the crime as charged. By pleading guilty the defendant relinquishes his/her right to a trial, to examine the evidence against him/her, and to question witnesses against him/her.
Acceptance of the Guilty Plea by the Court
The guilty plea may or may not be accepted by the trial judge. In order for a judge to accept a defendant’s guilty plea the judge will ensure that the defendant understands the consequences of the plea. In other words, for a guilty plea to stand it must be made knowingly and intelligently. Often the judge will ask the defendant a series of questions to make a determination of whether the defendant is entering the guilty plea knowingly and intelligently. Once the judge is satisfied that the defendant understands the consequences of his/her guilty plea, it will be accepted.
As such, the defendant must:
- Admit that his/her conduct is punishable under the law;
- Admit to and have an understanding of the charges brought against him/her;
- Have knowledge of the possible consequences to pleading guilty as well as being found guilty after a trial; and
- Know and understand that he/she is waiving the right to a trial, against self-incrimination, and confronting and cross examining witnesses.
Additionally, if the defendant is not a citizen of the United States, he is at risk for deportation for being convicted of a criminal offense.
Withdrawing a Guilty Plea
A defendant may want to withdraw his plea after it is made. Once the judge has accepted the plea, this is a tall task. However, in some circumstances, such as not being represented by counsel, or the surfacing of new evidence, a judge may allow the withdrawal of the guilty plea and the defendant can proceed to trial.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Attorney
If you have pled guilty to a crime, it may not be too late to withdraw your plea. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates. We will analyze your claim, search for mistakes, and explain your options.