August 15, 2014
By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report
Yeah, I’m off topic a bit with this one, but the story is so outlandish I had to share.
A SoCal Bank of America assistant manager said she was held hostage by two men, forced to wear a bomb and told to drive to a Bank of America branch in East Los Angeles where she was employed.
Aurora Barrera claimed she was given instructions to remove money from the bank vault and place it outside the building, which she did. The bank robbery resulted in a massive response by local, state and federal law enforcement, including the bomb squad who determined the device strapped to Barrera was a fake bomb.
Two days after the robbery, Barrera submitted a workers’ compensation claim for post-traumatic stress disorder. Barrera began receiving medical treatment and collected approximately $2,453 a month in temporary total disability benefits. The total amount of benefits paid out to Barrera totaled $35,573. An additional $9,964 was incurred in medical and other insurance expenses.
The problem is an FBI investigation determined that Barrera was a knowing participant in the bank robbery. As a result Barrera was arrested and subsequently convicted for the bank robbery, along with her then boyfriend and two others. Barrera was sentenced last week to nine years in federal prison.
The LATimes says, “Investigators later determined that Barrera was in on the heist, using the fake bomb — a flashlight wrapped in black electrical tape — to persuade a co-worker to help empty the vault and leave the cash outside. Aurora’s partners scooped up the $565,500 and divided it in a hotel room later that day, according to authorities.”
She faces up to an additional five years in prison for the worker’s comp fraud claim.