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San Diego

A New Jersey woman and her daughter were convicted of multiple fraud counts that included a forged $20,000 withdrawal from the San Diego bank account of an elderly man she had befriended.

Jurors deliberated 1 1/2 days before convicting Joan Joyce Urrutia of Newark and her daughter Cheryl Ann Maestas. Both are scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 12 by U. S. District Judge Judith Keep.

Urrutia was convicted of nine counts of conspiracy, credit-card fraud, bank fraud, check fraud, interstate transportation of property taken by fraud and unlawful use of another person’s Social Security number. Her daughter was convicted of 10 similar counts, each of which carries a prison sentence of five to 20 years.

The defendants traveled across the country using various identities, including phony work histories--under which credit-card and checking accounts were opened that they overcharged on and overdrew, U. S. Atty. William Braniff said.

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In San Diego, Urrutia answered an ad by a man looking for someone to help clean his house and run errands.

She gained access to the California First Bank signatory card signed by the man’s sister, who lives in Washington, and forged her signature while transferring $20,000 to Dean Witter Reynolds, from which the defendants withdrew the funds, Braniff said.


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