Brenda Bautista Hurtado, 25, pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of theft by a bank employee, a federal felony offense that carries a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.
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.
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 elderly customers at the bank.
After changing their contact information, Hurtado then allegedly 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. She was arrested this morning in Guadalupe, California, where she has been staying for the past few months.
Hurtado also stole $50,907 on February 24, 2010 and another $48,163 on February 26, 2010. Each count of theft by a bank employee carries a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million, though Hurtado will only be sentenced on one count.
Hurtado is scheduled to be sentenced on November 21 by United States District Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen. The case against Hurtado is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.