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SoCal Banker Going Away for 27 Months

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A 27-year-old Southern California banker was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for stealing $293,000 from the accounts of Wells Fargo customers.

Ricardo Adolfo Benavente III, of Chula Vista, used his access privileges to transfer the money from customers' accounts to his own, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. He also ducked $88,950 in federal taxes on the stolen money.

"He began the fraud by using Wells Fargo's banking systems to identify vulnerable customer accounts - those that had high account balances, but which exhibited very little recent account activity, suggesting that the account holders did not regularly monitor them," the U.S. attorney said in a statement. "Benavente fraudulently accessed these customer accounts using his special access privileges at the bank, and then transferred the funds to other accounts that he controlled. ...

"After the fraud was discovered, federal agents searched a safety deposit box at Wells Fargo belonging to Benavente and found thousands of dollars in cash, and high-end luxury goods from Mont Blanc, Louis Vuitton, and Tag Hauer."

Why someone would expose himself to criminal prosecution, and prison, to buy watches and store them in a lock box, is a question not amenable to purely legal solution.

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