Fighting a bad cold, Carlos Gomez had decided to sleep by himself that night so he wouldn’t expose his wife.
He awoke to a nightmare. Just before dawn, insistent pounding on the front door jolted the ex-Marine and young father out of bed. Federal agents poured into his Kendall home, pushing his wife aside and rushing to his bedroom. They held guns to his face before slapping him in handcuffs.
“I kept asking, ‘What is going on?’ ’’ recalled Gomez, who works as a UPS driver. “I was scared for my life.”
Gomez, busted in a money laundering scheme, would spend nearly two weeks in a federal detention center and another seven months under house arrest.
It took 222 days before federal prosecutors realized it was all a terrible mistake: A rogue bank worker had stolen his identity.
Thanks in part to Gomez’s own sleuthing, prosecutors eventually discovered he had been wrongfully charged. The Wachovia Bank employee had stolen $1.1 million from customers, then swiped Gomez’s identity to create a checking account under the pilfered name to launder portions of the embezzled proceeds.
Now, nearly three years after the ordeal, Gomez is suing Wachovia for “malicious prosecution.”