LOS ANGELES – A manager who allegedly faked a bomb threat to rob her own Los Angeles bank pleaded not guilty to federal bank robbery charges Friday.
Aurora Barrera, 33, of Huntington Park was charged with conspiring with her boyfriend and two other men to rob the East Los Angeles bank where she was assistant manager. Two men have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Prosecutors allege that in September 2012 she agreed to have a fake bomb strapped to her to suggest she was a hostage. Court documents say she convinced her fellow bank employees that she and they were in danger and had them help her take a half-million dollars from the bank's vault.
The grand jury indictment in the case said she placed the money outside a bank side door where the co-conspirators retrieved it while the bomb squad was rushing in to handle the phony threat. Most of the money has not been recovered.
Prosecutors say that Barrera's boyfriend, Reyes "Ray" Vega, a former firearms instructor, conceived of the plot. He was indicted with her on charges of conspiring to commit bank robbery.
Barrera was released on $50,000 bond and placed on an electronic monitoring device. Another hearing was set for Monday.
The two other men have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.