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Anchorage bank employee sentenced to 10 years for $4.3 million vault heist

Millions in cash stolen from an Anchorage bank by Gerardo Valenzuela, recovered by Mexican...
Millions in cash stolen from an Anchorage bank by Gerardo Valenzuela, recovered by Mexican authorities after a random search. Federal prosecutors evidence photo. (KTUU)
Published: Apr. 30, 2019 at 8:12 AM AKDT
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Under cover of an ice cream social for bank customers, Gerardo Adan Cazarez Valenzuela, 34, stole over $4 million from a KeyBank vault in Anchorage. After he was caught in Mexico during a random search, he was brought back to Alaska.

For this crime, Valenzuela was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess to serve 10 years in prison, with no credit for seven years he served in a Mexican prison, U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced Monday.

In federal court documents filed in his case, Valenzuela apologized for his crimes, and stated that seven years of incarceration in "the filthiest place imaginable" was a thorough punishment, asking that it be added to his time-served. That plea was not accepted by the judge.

Valenzuela was a cash vault services manager for KeyBank in Anchorage, and targeted the vault from the inside. He stole $4.3 million in cash from the vault after being the only person cleaning up from a customer appreciation "ice cream social." From there, Valenzuela chartered a private jet to Seattle, and drove to Mexico, where he was randomly stopped at a checkpoint, searched, and arrested.

The judge noted during sentencing that the most important factors in this case were the “magnitude of the crime” and Valenzuela’s lack of candor with the court.

Authorities say $3.8 million were recovered in Mexico, and another $500,000, part of a "fail-safe plan," was stashed with relatives in Washington. Valenzuela claimed that money had been stolen.

Prior to his extradition back to the U.S., Valenzuela was serving a sentence in Mexico for smuggling cash and firearms linked to this case.

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