Former Las Vegas bank manager pleads guilty to stealing $1.2M from government programs

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A U.S. Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas man has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining nearly $1.2 million in benefits from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to Nevada’s U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich, 57-year-old Javier Montano, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds while working as a branch manager at a Las Vegas bank.

Court documents reveal that Montano received information about two accounts with large balances and no activity. One account was held by a person receiving Social Security retirement benefits who had passed away in 1997. The SSA was never notified of the person’s death and continued to pay the benefits.

The other account was held by a person who was receiving both SSA and VA benefits and passed away in 2011. The agencies were not notified of the death and continued to pay benefits which accumulated in the account.

Montano used a bank computer to order debit cards for both bank accounts and used them to withdraw cash which he either deposited into his account or spent. He also ordered and wrote checks on the accounts. In one incident, he used his authority as a branch manager to authorize a $35,000 cashier’s check which he used to buy a luxury car, according to the Department of Justice.

In total, between August 2015 and June 2020, Montano fraudulently obtained approximately $436,686.80 in SSA benefits and approximately $757,985.88 in VA benefits.

He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey on December 14, 2020. He is facing 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, and Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie Mickelson is prosecuting the case.

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