After a months-long investigation, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station detectives arrested a Valencia man who’s a bank employee suspected of stealing thousands of dollars from his customers.
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Samuel Jose Godinez, 25, of Valencia, was arrested July 2, booked for felony commercial burglary, theft by access card and for passing checks with known insufficient funds.
Banking supervising staff terminated Godinez’s employment after conducting their own internal investigation, according to Sheriff’s Department officials. The name of the bank has not been released.
“Each year, identity theft, one of the fastest growing types of fraud, harms thousands of consumers throughout Los Angeles County,” said Deputy Josh Dubin of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “If you believe someone might have stolen your identity, you should contact the Sheriff’s Station immediately.”
In January, Sheriff’s Station deputies were contacted by a Newhall resident regarding unauthorized transactions appearing on his bank statements
“The victim reported that an unknown suspect used a bank card number to obtain goods and/or services totaling over $8,000 without his permission,” according to Sheriff’s Department officials.
In May, a second alleged victim contacted deputies assigned to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station regarding identity theft. The second alleged victim reported more than $16,000 taken from her checking account in April.
As the investigation progressed, detectives found similarities in both cases, particularly regarding how the money was taken out of the accounts.
After an extensive investigation, detectives learned that both incidents had a common suspect, and that suspect as a bank employee.
At one bank location the victim left her debit card and it was allegedly retrieved by a bank employee and then later used without authorization.
At another bank location, that same bank employee allegedly encouraged the victim to leave his debit card behind, and ensured the victim a new debit card would be provided to him.
The bank employee then allegedly changed the pin number and made purchases without authorization.
Detectives partnered with supervising banking staff as the investigation continue. Banking supervisors were extremely cooperative with investigating detectives.
The Nixle release from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station suggested several steps to follow for anyone who suspects they are a victim of identity theft: Place an initial fraud alert, order your credit reports to check for fraudulent activity and notify law enforcement.
More information about the incident will be released as it becomes available, officials said.
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Source: Santa Clarita News