A resident of Mexico pleaded guilty in federal court to charges related to a “very complex ‘double-broker’ scheme” intended to defraud motor carriers and freight brokers operating in California.

On October 6, Alexis Castillo Padilla, 45, of Tijuana pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges related to the double-broker scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.

Authorities say that Padilla stole the identity of an interstate carrier located in Spring Valley in San Diego County, California, and agreed to deliver loads using that carrier’s identity. However instead of delivering those loads, Padilla posed as a shipper and re-brokered the loads to other trucking companies, who actually delivered the freight. Padilla collected the payments from customers as the Spring Valley carrier and did not pay the trucking companies that actually delivered the cargo.

Most of the double-broker scheme was orchestrated from Tijuana, Mexico, authorities say.

Padilla was arrested in Italy and extradited to the United States on May 27, 2022.

As part of his plea agreement, Padilla has agreed to pay restitution to his victims in an amount estimated to be at least $239,904.

“Padilla used deceit and deception to defraud freight brokers and interstate carriers trying to make an honest living moving goods throughout the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “He will now be held to account for his crimes even though they were committed from outside the United States.” Grossman commended the prosecution team as well as the Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General agents for investigating and prosecuting this case.”

“Today’s guilty plea demonstrates our commitment to detecting and pursuing those who engage in egregious acts of fraud that negatively affect both businesses and consumers,” said Andrea M. Kropf, Special Agent-In-Charge, Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, Midwestern Region. “We are proud of our work with our prosecutorial partners in putting an end to this very complex ‘double-broker’ scheme.”

Padilla is scheduled for sentencing on December 7, 2022. He faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General.

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