LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A former assistant bank manager was sentenced to nine years in prison Wednesday for her role in a robbery at her branch.
Aurora Barerra originally told investigators that strangers kidnapper her, forced her to wear a bomb strapped to her chest and made her empty a bank vault at a Bank of America branch in East LA, where she worked in September 2012.
Investigators later determined the bomb was fake and Barerra was in on the planning of the heist.
More than $557,000 was taken during the robbery that also involved Barerra’s then-boyfriend, Ray Vega, and two other men.
Prosecutor Justin Rhodes told reporters Wednesday that little more than $8,200 of the money was recovered.
“It was turned in by one of the co-conspirators,” said Rhodes, “and then we have a rough estimation about how much was spent by two of the other co-conspirators.”
He said “about $150,000” was spent on personal expenses, narcotics, bars and living the high life.
Before sentencing Barerra to the nine-year term, US District Court Judge Manuel Real lashed out at her.
“Where’s the money? Where did all the money go? You’ve done nothing but lie to this court,” Real said.
He added: “Mr. Vega did a good job of helping you ruin your own life.”
The judge asked Barerra if she had anything to say and she said “No.”
CBS2’s Dave Lopez asked Rhodes if the rest of the money might be hidden in some offshore account and waiting for the criminals when they get out.
“We continue to look for the money,” Rhodes said, “and I won’t speculate as to where it is.”