A Carlsbad Police vehicle
Carlsbad police vehicle. Photo by Chris Stone

A man who allegedly robbed a Carlsbad bank while out on bail and awaiting sentencing in a separate federal bank fraud case was arrested Friday.

Steven Struhar, 24, of San Marcos, is suspected in the Dec. 21 robbery of a US Bank on Carlsbad Village Drive.

Police said that on the afternoon of Dec. 21, Struhar allegedly entered the bank, demanded money from the teller, and fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money. He was arrested near his residence on Friday by Carlsbad police.

At the time of the robbery, Struhar had been out of custody on bail and was awaiting sentencing in the United States District Court, Southern District of California on federal charges of bank fraud and making false statements, according to the Carlsbad Police Department.

Court records list only one defendant matching the name Steven Struhar in the Southern District of California, who is slated for sentencing in April for bank fraud and making false statements.

According to his plea agreement in the federal case, Struhar contacted the Russian Embassy last year and claimed he was a member of the U.S. Treasury Department.

He later met with someone he believed was a Russian government representative — but was actually an undercover federal agent — and told this person he had a “Top Secret security clearance” and “offered to provide classified information regarding sanctions imposed by the U.S. Government on Russia,” court documents state.

The plea agreement states he was interested in being compensated for this information, but didn’t end up continuing his communications with the supposed Russian government representative.

Prosecutors allege he later made false statements to FBI investigators, telling them he had worked for the Treasury Department, as well as the Manchester Financial Group. The plea agreement states he never worked for either entity.

The plea agreement also states Struhar deposited two fraudulent checks totaling more than $85,000 into his bank account earlier this year.



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Ellen Bullock