South Bay Banker Accused of Swindling Thousands

By Christina London
|  Thursday, Apr 25, 2013  |  Updated 8:53 PM PDT
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South Bay Banker Accused of Swindling Thousands

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A former Chula Vista banker is charged with stealing $750,000 from customers, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office.

Ricardo Adolfo Benavente, III, 27, faces 80 felony counts of bank fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and identity theft. Benavente was arraigned Thursday in federal court. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Benavente worked at a Wells Fargo branch in Chula Vista. According to the indictment, he moved hundreds of thousands of dollars from four customers’ accounts into accounts he controlled under fake names. He’s also accused of creating a fake paper trail to cover up the crime, which allegedly took place between April and October 2009.

Many of the charges carry penalties of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

A motion hearing is scheduled for June 3.

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