LAS CRUCES – New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent Marguerite Salazar announced Thursday that Eduardo Triste of Las Cruces was found guilty on by a jury of defrauding a 70-year-old Orange County, Calif. woman who he persuaded to invest in his fictitious salsa company.
Triste was convicted of Fraud over $20,000 and Securities Fraud.
“We will continue to protect the citizens of New Mexico from the nefarious actions of wrongdoers who prey on trusting individuals,” Salazar said.
Triste struck up an acquaintance with the woman after she randomly contacted him in connection with her employment at a California-based call center. Over the next couple months, the two began a romantic, long-distance relationship over the telephone. During this time, Triste kept the woman’s interest by falsely claiming to have been a Major in the United States Marines and a prisoner of war with John McCain, the late senator from Arizona.
About two months into their relationship, Triste began to solicit investments from the woman and represented to her that she would receive a one-third stake in his salsa company in exchange for those investments.
However, Triste never disclosed to her that he was on probation for a previous fraud conviction and was using her money to repay the prior criminal judgment. All told, the woman invested approximately $65,000 with Triste.
“This verdict demonstrates the Securities Division’s commitment to zealously pursuing those who perpetrate fraudulent investment schemes in New Mexico, particularly when those schemes target the elderly,” Securities Division Director Matthew Bouillon Mascareñas said.
An investigation by the Securities Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department revealed that Triste had no registered business in New Mexico of any kind and used most of the money for personal expenses.
The case also was prosecuted by the Securities Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.
The Regulation and Licensing Department’s Securities Division protects New Mexicans from fraud and financial abuse by licensing investment professionals, registering securities offering made in the state, offering anti-fraud and educational programs to the public, and investigating fraud and other violations of the state securities laws. To learn more about investment fraud, visit the division’s website at redflagsnm.com or call 1.800.704.5533.