Beats father-in-law in Santa Fe for $23K check

SANTA FE, NM (KRQE) – A man has been convicted in a bank fraud case, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a release. Officials believe he committed the crime to deal with gambling debts.

Mark Candelaria, 36, of Wantagh, New York, was indicted in a bank fraud case from Santa Fe. A federal jury convicted him after deliberating for 39 minutes.

Court documents and evidence say Candelaria’s father-in-law experienced a home invasion in Santa Fe in September 2021 by an armed and masked intruder. The intruder forced the victim to write a blank check for $23,000 The intruder beat the victim and left him in a closet. The victim did not know who the intruder was and had trouble remembering the crime due to his injuries.

The day after the attack, the bank contacted the victim’s wife about a check due to different handwriting. The wife looked at the check and saw it was made out to Candelaria. Candelaria tells him that he and the victim are going to invest in Bitcoin together. The wife doubted this, but she wrote him another check for the same amount.

When the victim found out, he told his wife he was unwilling to invest in Bitcoin or write a check to Candelaria. However, he recalled being forced to write a check during the home invasion. A copy of the check was provided to the Santa Fe Police Department.

A deposit slip was found in Candela’s car during the search warrant. It shows that the check was deposited on the morning of the home invasion.

Candelaria is awaiting sentencing. He faces up to 30 years in prison and five years of supervised release.

In 2021, Candelaria was also arrested for a Santa Fe bank robbery.

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