LAS CRUCES – A man from Columbia pleaded guilty on Monday to scamming a Las Cruces man out of $15,000.
Julian David Ceballos-Jimenez, 29, of Columbia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud, a third-degree felony. The charge carried a maximum penalty of three years in prison, two years of parole and a $5,000 fine.
However, Third Judicial District Court Judge Richard Jacquez accepted a plea agreement that eliminated Ceballos-Jimenez’s prison sentence. Instead, Ceballos-Jimenez was required to repay the victim $15,000 and will be removed from the country.
He was also sentenced to three years of unsupervised probation.
According to a police affidavit filed by a New Mexico State Police officer, Ceballos-Jimenez tricked a Las Cruces man into sending him a $15,000 wire transfer in 2018. The affidavit said that the victim came forward with the accusations in November 2018.
The victim said that someone told him there was a federal warrant for his arrest and that he was required to send them $15,000 if he wanted to put the warrant on hold. The victim was also told that he was being investigated by the DEA and IRS and that his social security number had been suspended.
But the scam went even further.
The scammer told the victim that a car rented in his name had been discovered along the U.S./Mexico border. The car was covered in blood, the scammer said. Additionally, the scammer told the victim that police had traced the car to a house where they…