Ex-bank employee pleads guilty to stealing nearly $110,000

An Arroyo Grande woman pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of stealing nearly $110,000 from U.S. Bank while she was employed at its Arroyo Grande branch, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Brenda Bautista Hurtado, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of theft by a bank employee, a federal felony offense that carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.

In a plea agreement filed in United States District Court, Hurtado admitted that she stole nearly $100,000 from two customers’ accounts as well as an additional $10,000 in cash from the bank’s vault.

The investigation 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 closed these accounts and took out cashier’s checks for the balance of each account, according to prosecutors.

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 in May.

Hurtado is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 21 by U.S. District Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen.

The FBI conducted the investigation in the case.