Woman allegedly defrauded 26 banks

Tanya Rochelle Forsyth
Tanya Rochelle Forsyth

A 48-year-old woman allegedly defrauded 26 different banks — including several in San Luis Obispo County — of about $112,000 before trying to blame her sister for the schemes, Morro Bay police officials reported in court documents.

Tanya Rochelle Forsyth is scheduled to be arraigned in San Luis Obispo Superior Court today on charges including grand theft, burglary, unlawful use of an access card and possession of a controlled substance.

Forsyth was arrested Jan. 5 by Morro Bay police after allegedly fraudulently requesting $5,000 in cash from Chase Bank using a prepaid card, according to a search warrant filed by department Detective Susan Gomes.

The teller at the bank at 595 Morro Bay Blvd. recognized Forsyth from a fraud alert, according to Gomes.

Forsyth’s attorney, Gael Mueller, did not return a call for comment Wednesday.

Forsyth allegedly committed her bank crimes between Nov. 11 and Dec. 16, using “trickery,” the warrant states.

“Forsyth stated her sister committed all of these crimes and it was not her,” Gomes wrote. “However, she is the person in all the bank photographs.”

In the Jan. 5 incident, the teller took Forsyth’s prepaid card and Arizona identification card to verify them.

Forsyth, who was “spooked” by the teller’s delay, left the bank before Morro Bay police officers conducted a traffic stop and arrested her, the warrant states.

Police allege Forsyth initially gave a false name before trying to suggest her sister was involved.

She’s accused of defrauding local banks, including branches in Arroyo Grande, Atascadero and Morro Bay.

Prosecutors said that other counties may file criminal charges against Forsyth for crimes that may have occurred outside San Luis Obispo County.

Forsyth’s scheme involved using prepaid cards that had been canceled and had no funds available for withdrawal, the warrant states.

She allegedly entered banks while talking on a cell phone and requested to withdraw $5,000.

Then she acted “surprised” when the tellers informed her of insufficient funds and had them call a 1-800 telephone number that she provided.

The representative from the card company provided the bank that was furnishing money to Forsyth with step-by-step instructions and an authorization code to “override the system and provide the cash advance to Forsyth.”

Forsyth was sweating profusely when police talked to her and admitted to taking speed, according to court documents that allege she possessed methamphetamines.

But Forsyth denied wrongdoing, saying she was trying to “get a cash advance” and that her mother had cancer, the report states.

Forsyth reportedly told police she lived in Los Angeles and was formerly in Santa Maria.