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Robber handed bill, sentence Neal Putnam | Sat, Dec 21 2013 12:00 PM

A former employee of a Chula Vista bank has been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for stealing money from inactive accounts and was ordered to pay $381,975 in restitution.

Ricardo Adolfo Benavente III, 27, of Chula Vista, used to work at the Otay Ranch branch of the Wells Fargo bank in Chula Vista in 2009. In court documents, Benavente has admitted to embezzling $293,023.

U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns ordered Benavente to pay $293,023 to Wells Fargo and $88,952 to the Internal Revenue Service for under reporting his income in his 2010 income tax return.

Benavente is now housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. He surrendered to MCC on Nov. 18 following his Nov. 12 sentencing. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit embezzlement and filing a false tax return.

It is a complicated embezzlement and the indictment says Benavente embezzled $105,555 from one victim’s inactive account in April 2009. Benavente opened a PayPal account in the name of that victim and deposited funds for his own use, according to court documents.

Three other victims lost $187,468 in October 2009 that came from inactive accounts. The indictment says Benavente conspired with at least one other unnamed person who helped transfer stolen funds from Wells Fargo to a Mexican bank account.

Benavente was indicted in April on 80 felony charges including aggravated identity theft, bank fraud, money laundering and embezzlement. Burns dismissed the remaining 78 charges. He could have received a maximum term of five years in prison.

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