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A.G. woman stole $110,000 from bank, prosecutors say

FBI agents on Tuesday arrested an Arroyo Grande woman accused of stealing $110,000 from the local bank branch where she worked, according to federal prosecutors.

They arrested Brenda Bautista Hurtado, 25, on suspicion of stealing money from a federally insured financial institution after a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against her, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

Hurtado was expected to be arraigned on the indictment Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

She remained in federal custody Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.

A U.S. magistrate in Los Angeles set Hurtado’s bail at $150,000 — which she could post no earlier than today, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In the meantime, she will likely be held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles, he said.

The indictment accuses Hurtado of stealing money while working last year at a branch of U.S. Bank in Arroyo Grande.

It alleges that Hurtado stole nearly $100,000 from two customers’ accounts, as well as $10,000 in cash from the bank’s vault.

The investigation revealed that Hurtado secretly accessed the bank’s computer system and changed the contact information for the accounts of two elderly customers at the bank, according to prosecutors.

After changing the contact information, Hurtado then allegedly closed the accounts and took out cashier’s checks for the balance of each account.

When one of the customers went to the bank and learned that his account had been closed, Hurtado allegedly 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, prosecutors allege.

She was arrested in Guadalupe, where she had been staying for the past few months, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The indictment alleges that Hurtado stole $50,907 on Feb. 24, 2010, $48,163 on Feb. 26, 2010, and $10,000 in cash from the bank vault June 7, 2010.

Each count of theft by a bank employee carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

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