NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that MANUELA GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN, age 77, a resident of New York, New York, pleaded guilty on October 14, 2020 to conspiracy to use fraudulent passports before U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance.
According to court documents, GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN and Thierno O. Bah, also of New York, flew from Newark Liberty International Airport to Louis Armstrong International on February 18th. They rented a car, and the following day GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN entered a Capital One bank branch in Metairie while BAH waited in the rental car outside. GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN then attempted to cash a stolen check while using a false passport card in the name of another person. When bank employees became suspicious, they called Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s deputies who arrested the pair.
Court documents further detailed how federal agents subsequently determined that Bah and GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN had executed the scheme at several other bank branches while using stolen identities. The two individuals had even taken a prior trip to New Orleans on January 31, 2020, where they executed or attempted to execute at least seven fraudulent transactions, including a failed attempt to withdraw $18,600.00 in cash from one victim’s account.
GONZALEZ-BOOKMAN faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000.00 fine, and up to three years of supervised release. Judge Vance scheduled sentencing for February 17, 2021.
The investigation is being handled by the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service and Homeland Security Investigations. U.S. Attorney Strasser extended his thanks to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office for their assistance. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew R. Payne is in charge of the prosecution.