Maintenance man charged with stealing $580,000 from Laguna Beach resident

Jose Angel Martinez Casillas has been charged with 98 felony counts in a Laguna Beach forgery and theft case. (Courtesy of Laguna Beach Police Department)

A 30-year-old man was arrested Thursday and charged on allegations of using banking information and forged checks to steal more than $580,000 from a Laguna Beach resident.

Authorities say Jose Angel Martinez Casillas of Tijuana, Mexico, stole checks from the victim’s residence while employed as a maintenance and repair worker and forged them in his name so they could be cashed or deposited into his own bank account.

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The Orange County district attorney’s office alleges Casillas pocketed more than $430,000 that way from August 2016 to February 2017.

Additionally, authorities say, Casillas made more than $150,000 worth of online Automated Clearing House transactions using the victim’s banking information, with those payments going toward buying vehicles and paying off personal loans.

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Casillas has been charged with one felony count of first-degree residential burglary, 56 felony counts of forgery and 41 felony counts of grand theft, according to the district attorney’s office. He also faces sentencing enhancement allegations of property damage over $200,000, aggravated white-collar crime over $500,000 and a serious felony conviction in 2011 in Orange.

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 153 years and four months in state prison. An arraignment date has not yet been set.

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