LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent Marguerite Salazar announced Tuesday that Eduardo Triste (a.k.a. Edward Cristo) of Las Cruces, New Mexico was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay $65,966.83 in restitution for defrauding a 70-year- old Orange County, California woman who he persuaded to invest in his fictitious salsa company.
Triste was convicted of Fraud over $20,000 and Securities Fraud by a Doña Ana County jury in July of this year. Additionally, Triste admitted to a prior felony conviction and was sentenced as a habitual offender.
“We are here to protect New Mexico investors. Fraudulent activity in our community will not be tolerated and we will pursue all actions to keep
investors safe in our state,” stated Salazar.
Triste began a romantic, long-distance relationship with the woman over the telephone and kept her interest by falsely claiming to have been a Major in the United States Marines and a prisoner of war with the late Senator John McCain. Shortly thereafter, Triste began to solicit investments from the woman and represented to her that she stood to receive a one-third stake in his salsa company. 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
“Securities fraud is a serious offense, and we are pleased with the message this sends to other would-be scam artists,” said Securities Division Director Matthew Bouillon Mascareñas.
An investigation by the Securities Division revealed that Triste had no registered business in New Mexico of any kind and used most of the money for personal expenses.
The case was prosecuted by the Securities Division and the Office of Third Judicial District Attorney Mark D’Antonio.
The Regulation and Licensing Department’s Securities Division protects New Mexicans from fraud and financial abuse by licensing
investment professionals, registering securities offerings made in the state, offering fraud prevention and educational programs to the public, and investigating fraud and other violations of state securities laws. To New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department learn more about investment fraud, visit the division’s website at redflagsnm.com or call (800) 704-5533.