Credit Union Teller Admits Stealing More Than $100,000 from Elderly Account Holders
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas W. Pilchak (619) 546-9709
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – July 31, 2019
SAN DIEGO – An Imperial Beach man admitted today to embezzling $117,305 from vulnerable older account holders at the credit union where he worked as a teller.
Samuel Davalos, Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud during a hearing this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry M. Kurren.
Davalos, 28, was employed as a teller at Point Loma Credit Union (PLCU) from July 2017 to March 2019, according to his plea agreement. Using his account access, Davalos defrauded PLCU and its members by processing unauthorized withdrawals from members’ accounts, and creating unauthorized checks and other instruments paid to himself and his accomplices. Davalos admitted in his plea agreement to recruiting three other individuals to assist with his scheme by depositing checks drawn on his victims’ accounts.
Davalos also acknowledged that he selected his victims because of their age and vulnerability, targeting older PLCU members because he believed them less likely to notice the fraud.
In sum, Davalos stole $117,305 from four different PLCU members over a period of months. PLCU reimbursed all of the members for their losses. Davalos has agreed to pay restitution to PLCU for its losses, and to forfeit the contents of two frozen PLCU accounts, which hold a portion of his ill-gotten gains.
“This defendant used his position of trust to exploit elderly victims because he believed they would be easy to fool,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “But this office was not fooled. We are dedicated to protecting the community from fraudsters and the defendant will pay a price for taking advantage of these seniors.”
“The Secret Service San Diego Field Office is committed to aggressively investigating financial crimes cases, especially those that target our most vulnerable citizens,” said Special Agent in Charge James E. Anderson Jr. – U.S. Secret Service San Diego Field Office. “I would like to thank the San Diego Police Department and Customs and Border Protection for their partnership and cooperation in this case.”
Davalos is scheduled to be sentenced on November 12, 2019 at 9:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns.
DEFENDANT Case Number 19-cr-2267-LAB
Samuel Davalos, Jr. Imperial Beach, CA Age: 28
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Bank Fraud – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1344
Maximum penalty: Thirty years in prison, $1 million fine (or twice the pecuniary gain or loss), restitution and forfeiture.
U.S. Secret Service