Officer honored for work on 2015 fraud caseJanuary 18, 2018
By LEANN BURKE
JASPER — Jasper Police Officer Martin Loya grinned Wednesday afternoon as he received a U.S. Attorney Award for investigative work on a 2015 identity theft case.
Loya’s work began after a tip from an Indianapolis woman who had visited Jasper a year prior and had her credit card information used at a local convenience store. Loya obtained security camera footage that led to the arrest of Roberto Moner and Adianez Herrera on felony charges including fraud, identity theft and possession of a card-skimming device. Since Moner and Herrera didn’t speak English, Loya translated interviews with them while in custody and eventually uncovered an identity theft operation covering southern Indiana and parts of Kentucky.
“If not for (Loya), these two might still be practicing their trade,” said U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler. “Instead, both are serving 48-month sentences at the Bureau of Prisons.”
Minkler, who covers southern Indiana, visited the Jasper Police Department Wednesday, along with representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service, who also worked on the case. Minkler and the other federal agents were complimentary of the Jasper Police Department, pointing out that many of their cases start at the local level with solid police work.
“Law enforcement — the local, state and federal — work together all the time, but some cases just stand out,” Minkler said.
Loya’s identity theft case was one of the standouts. Through Loya’s investigative work, federal agents were able to make eight more arrests and uncover a national identity theft operation.
“I just got lucky, really,” Loya said.
That may be, but that luck came after hard work. After the initial arrests, Loya spent hours sifting through the evidence, particularly data on a USB drive, looking for patterns. Sometimes, he worked on his off hours. When federal agents came to Jasper, Loya assisted and tied Herrera and Moner to the larger operation.
Despite his hard work on the case, Loya looked at his award as an award for the Jasper Police Department as a whole. He gave credit to the officers who were on duty the night the case began and those who initially arrested Moner and Herrera.
“We all know that in law enforcement, we get anonymous tips that don’t turn into anything,” Loya said. “But this one did.”
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