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Young Banker Accused of Swiping $750,000

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A 27-year-old former Wells Fargo banker at a Chula Vista branch was charged Thursday with stealing and laundering $750,000 from customers' accounts.

Ricardo Adolfo Benavente III, 27, of Chula Vista, "used his access privileges at Wells Fargo to move hundreds of thousands of dollars from the accounts of Wells Fargo customers into accounts controlled by Benavente himself," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

He was charged in an 80-count indictment.

Benavente swiped the money from April to October 2009 and funneled it through accounts he had opened in the names of fictitious customers, the U.S. attorney said in a statement that cited the indictment.

"In one case, Benavente also funneled stolen funds through a PayPal account that he set up in the name of one of his victims, in order to disguise the fact that the money had been stolen," prosecutors said.

He is charged with bank fraud, embezzlement, aggravated identity theft, money laundering and dodging taxes on the stolen money.

He faces 28 counts of bank fraud, 28 counts of embezzlement, seven counts of aggravated identity theft, 16 counts of money laundering, and failing a false tax return.

Prosecutors did not say what he did with the money.

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