Trial set in $1.4M theft

A convicted bank robber is scheduled to stand trial in November on charges that he lied to a bank to steal $1.4 million from Newport Beach's wealthiest man.

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles accuse Moundir Kamil, 41, of creating a fake driver's license and identifying himself as Donald Bren, the Irvine Co. chairman, then depositing Bren's $1.4-million federal tax return check into five different East West Bank accounts in February and March.

During the following months, Kamil withdrew or transferred $1.1 million of that money, according to the federal indictment submitted in district court last week. The indictment does not indicate how Kamil allegedly got his hands on Bren's tax return check.

According to court documents, Kamil opened up five bank accounts in Bren's name and listed his occupation as working in a "smoke shop." He's accused of initially opening up four accounts out of an East West Bank branch in Cerritos. Within a month he had transferred money out of the accounts four times, each transfer between $200,000 and $230,000, prosecutors claim.

In April he opened up the fifth account, taking $117,000 from one account to create the new one, authorities claim. Less than two weeks later bank investigators were on his trail. Authorities released surveillance photos of Kamil to the public in August because they didn't know who he was.

Days later, a guard at Santa Ana city jail called the U.S. Secret Service saying he recognized Kamil as a former prisoner.

Court records show Kamil was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for half a dozen bank robberies in Orange County, including robberies in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, in 2003. He was on parole until June 2009.

With an estimated net worth of $12 billion, Bren was recently ranked the 21st richest person in America by Forbes magazine.

The government was paying Bren back for over-reporting in quarterly taxes, the Orange County Business Journal reported this week.

Kamil's tentative trial date is scheduled for Nov. 9.

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