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San Diego Man Sentenced to 41 months for Bank, Tax Fraud Schemes

Published By
U.S. Attorney's Office
Published Date


SAN DIEGO – Alvin Pates of San Diego was sentenced in federal court today to 41 months in prison for participating in a scheme to deceive banks by using straw borrowers and bogus financial information to obtain loans.

According to his plea agreement, beginning as early as July 2014 and continuing through at least April 2020, Pates admitted that he used the names, social security numbers, and credit of the straw borrowers to obtain loans and lines of credit that primarily benefited Pates.

At Pates’ behest, straw borrowers submitted false documentation provided by Pates showing they earned six-figure annual incomes from shell companies operated by Pates. Pates provided the straw borrowers with addresses and phone numbers for the shell companies, where Pates or others acting at his direction confirmed the false employment and income information when contacted by the financial institutions. Pates himself sometimes contacted the banks, pretending to be the straw borrowers, in order to ensure the straw borrowers could pass the security questions asked by the lenders.

Pates acknowledged in his plea agreement that he funneled the majority of the loan proceeds through the bank accounts of one of his shell companies to use for his personal benefit.  For example, Pates admitted to using the funds for numerous personal transactions, cash withdrawals, personal living expenses for himself and his family, and to make payments to other credit unions. According to sentencing documents, during six years of the scheme, Pates supported his lifestyle, which included a penthouse apartment, a Corvette, a Mercedes, and a BMW, solely with the proceeds of his fraudulent schemes. In the midst of the scheme, Pates sent a message to one of his assistants, stating that “money is raining.”

According to sentencing documents, Pates recruited many of the straw borrowers from his church. The church members trusted Pates because he possessed an outward façade of morality and wealth. The straw borrowers believed they were starting a business with Pates, and willingly gave Pates 90 percent of the fraudulent loan proceeds as what they thought was their capital contribution. Pates promised the borrowers that he and his company would make all the loan payments. Pates did make the initial loan payments, using funds obtained from other fraudulent loans, only to default on the loans a few months later, ruining the credit and finances of the straw borrowers. Most of the borrowers were unable to pay off the loans; some filed for bankruptcy as a result.

After a number of church members had been financially damaged, Pates began attending another church, continuing the scheme using the name “Al Noble.” At today’s hearing, Pates was ordered to pay restitution of $45,500 to one individual who repaid the fraudulent loans.

In addition to the bank fraud, Pates also admitted to assisting in the preparation of false tax returns for two taxpayers for the calendar year 2015. The tax return for one of the taxpayers falsely stated that the individual received “Other Income” in the amount of $538,462 and paid federal income taxes of $543,643, thus entitling him to a refund of $376,260.  Pates supplied false Forms 1099 to the taxpayer to support the return and accompanied the taxpayer to the IRS to submit the false return.  The Internal Revenue Service issued a refund check to the taxpayer for $376,260, which was ultimately returned to the IRS.

“This case is especially egregious because Mr. Pates didn’t just rely on the faith of his fellow churchgoers, he preyed on it,” said U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath. “But the direct victims are not the only ones who were hurt; we all pay a price for bank and tax fraud when those costs are passed on.”    

“Mr. Pates defrauded not only multiple financial institutions, but also his fellow Americans through these criminal schemes, for which he will now be held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher, IRS Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office. “Following the money is our specialty and, especially when we combine our expertise with our federal partners, our investigations lead to convictions.”

“This arrest and sentencing are the culmination of hard work by numerous local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies over the course of several years. The Secret Service will continue to investigate and pursue justice against those criminal networks who target the citizens of Southern California,” said Jason Reynolds, Special Agent in Charge with the San Diego Field Office of the United States Secret Service.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melanie K. Pierson and Loren G. Rene.

DEFENDANT                                               Case Number 20CR2204-CAB                                            

Alvin Pates                             Age: 54                                   San Diego, CA

a.k.a. Al Noble


Bank Fraud – Title 18, U.S.C., Sections 1344(1) and 2
Maximum penalty: Thirty years in prison, $1 million fine, forfeiture and restitution
Aiding and Advising Preparation of a False Tax Return—Title 26, U.S.C., Section 7206(2)
Maximum penalty: Three years in prison, $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution


U.S. Secret Service
IRS Criminal Investigation


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