Check Cashing Schemer Gets 18 Years

Owner of La Bamba chain in Miami will do hard time

The owner of a Miami check cashing business will be doing 18 years worth of hard time for running a $132.7 million scheme.

Juan Rene Caro spent nearly three years running the scam while president of La Bamba Check Cashing, helping a host of crooks set up shell companies to funnel the bogus checks through.

La Bamba was raided in January 2008, and Caro, 42, was convicted in February on one count of conspiracy and 15 counts of failing to file currency transaction reports.

Caro wept yesterday before the sentence was handed down, begging the judge for leniency and a sentence of house arrest so he could still be with his wife and five kids.

"I'm asking you for a second chance; I will not disappoint you," Caro said, according to the Miami Herald. "But please don't take my kids away from me."

Prosecutors asked for a 24-to30-year prison term. Judge Joan Lenard settled on 18 years.

In addition to the 18 years in prison, Caro will have to turn over $11 million in assets and pay a $250,000 fine.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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