Ex-KeyBank employee gets 10 years for $4.3M Anchorage heist
Gerardo Adan Cazarez Valenzuela, 34, was sentenced Monday by Chief U.S. District Judge Tim Burgess, according to U.S. Attorney for Alaska Bryan Schroder’s office. Valenzuela had sought a sentence of probation for the audacious 2011 heist, as well as credit from his Mexico time toward his U.S. sentence, but Burgess decided against both.
“Chief Judge Burgess noted that the most important sentencing factors in this case were the ‘magnitude of the crime’ and Valenzuela’s lack of candor with the court,” federal prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors say Valenzuela, a former KeyBank vault manager in Anchorage, had held a Friday party on July 29, 2011 — using the cleanup afterward as an excuse to stay late after employees went home for the weekend. He then took the $4.3 million, boarded a private jet in Anchorage he had chartered with money he had previously stolen from the same vault, flew to Seattle and drove with his girlfriend to Mexico.
Valenzuela’s getaway was short-lived, however, after a random search by Mexican authorities located guns his brother had given him to protect the money — as well as $3.8 million in cash. After his release from Mexican custody, he was extradited back to Alaska last year and pleaded guilty to theft of bank funds.
Valenzuela’s family admitted that he had left the remainder of the money with his relatives, but claimed $400,000 of that cash had been stolen from his father.
“At the sentencing hearing, evidence was presented that Valenzuela had executed a ‘fail safe plan’ that included stashing $500,000 in Washington before he fled to Mexico so that if he were caught he would still have money when he was released,” prosecutors wrote. “That money has still not been recovered.”
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.