News and Press Releases

Ex-Employee of a Central Coast Bank Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Stealing $110,000 – Mostly from Two Elderly Customers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2011

LOS ANGELES – An Arroyo Grande woman who admitted stealing nearly $110,000 from U.S. Bank and two customers while she was employed at its Arroyo Grande branch was sentenced today to 15 months in federal prison.

Brenda Bautista Hurtado, 26, was sentenced by United States District Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen, who also ordered the defendant to pay $109,071 in restitution.

Hurtado pleaded guilty in August to one count of theft by a bank employee. In a plea agreement filed in United States District Court, Hurtado specifically admitted that she stole nearly $100,000 from two customers’ accounts, as well as another $10,000 in cash from the bank’s vault in June 2010.

The investigation in this case revealed that Hurtado secretly accessed U.S. Bank’s computer system and changed the contact information for the accounts of two bank customers, both of whom were in their 80s. After changing their contact information, Hurtado then closed these accounts and took out cashier’s checks for the balance of each account.

When one of the customers came to the bank and learned that his account had been closed, Hurtado went into the bank’s vault and took $10,000 in cash. Hurtado then went to Mexico for several weeks before returning to the United States.

Hurtado’s “crimes of theft are grave based on the amount of loss alone, but are particularly troubling given the nature of the victims targeted and the level of planning and deception employed,” federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

The case against Hurtado is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Release No. 11-164

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