• The Star Staff

Two men charged separately for trying to cash PUA checks using false ID

By John McPhaul


Acting Justice Secretary Inés del C. Carrau Martínez and the director of the Justice Department’s Economic Crimes Division, Alexis Carlo Ríos, announced the filing of charges Monday, for separate events, against Luis Hernández Duarte and Eric Romero Algarín for alleged falsification of licenses in order to obtain unemployment funds under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program.

On July 18, Hernández Duarte allegedly went to the Galería San Patricio branch of Banco Popular in Guaynabo with the intention of cashing a check for the amount of $9,324 from the PUA Program with a fraudulent identification. He was arrested at the scene.

Hernández Duarte was charged in absentia under Article 215 -- Forgery of a License, Certificate and other Documentation -- of the Puerto Rico Penal Code.

On July 20, at the Banco Popular branch in Barrio Obrero, Romero Algarín allegedly tried to cash a check for $7,458 from the PUA Program, also by presenting a false identification. The accused was arrested at the scene.

Romero Algarín also was charged under Article 215 -- Forgery of License, Certificate and other Documentation -- of the Puerto Rico Penal Code.

The investigation and filing of the cases was given to prosecutors Roxanne Rivera Carrión and Luisa Vázquez Cruz, along with agents Carlos Matos Ortiz and Emilio Pérez of the Bank Robbery and Fraud Division of the Puerto Rico Police Bureau.

Judge José Parés Quiñones of the San Juan Superior Court determined probable cause against Hernández Duarte, ordered his arrest and imposed a global bond of $40,000.

Parés Quiñones also determined probable cause for the arrest of Romero Algarín and set his bond at $10,000 not deferred. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Oct. 5.

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