A Santa Clarita bank employee charged with stealing nearly $25,000 from Wells Fargo customers was arraigned on four counts Wednesday, including a charge he stole from an 81-year-old woman, a District Attorney’s Office spokesman said.
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Samuel Jose Godinez, 25, of Valencia, was arrested July 2 and booked for felony commercial burglary, theft by access card and for passing checks with known insufficient funds, officials said.
He was fired from Wells Fargo, where he was an employee, after officials there conducted an investigation into the reports.
“(The District Attorney’s Office) filed four felony counts,” said Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the D.A.’s office. Count one and two are grand theft of person.
Count three was for knowingly writing checks without sufficient funds for two checks — one for $500 and another for $1,550, officials said.
The second count included an alleged theft from an 81-year-old woman, which prompted the fourth charge of victimizing an elderly woman.
The identity of the victim was not released, but she had $16,418.87 stolen from her account, officials said.
The arraignment was scheduled for Wednesday at Department 130 in at Los Angeles County Superior Court in San Fernando.
Godinez faces a sentence of six years state prison, to be served in county jail, if convicted of all charges.
From an earlier story:
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.
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Source: Santa Clarita News