Bank scam suspect pleads not guilty

A 48-year-old Whittier woman pleaded not guilty Monday to stealing more than $12,000 from an Altadena woman’s bank account.

Natalie Diamond was charged with three counts of identity theft and one count of grand theft of personal property in connection with illegally withdrawing funds from the woman’s bank account, according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court criminal complaint.

Diamond also faces an offense enhancement for previous felony convictions, including burglary and grand theft, according to the complaint.

While Glendale detectives filed identity charges against Diamond for their case only, they determined that she has stolen $138,980 from victims in Ventura and Orange counties, Financial Crimes Sgt. Harley Wing said.

Law enforcement agencies in both counties must pursue charges against her for victims in their cases, he added.

Glendale police began looking into Diamond’s activity after the Altadena woman reported that someone accessed her bank account from April 2010 to September at bank branches in Glendale, Pasadena and Arcadia, police said.

Diamond withdrew roughly $4,000 per transaction, eventually totaling a loss of $12,700, police said.

She also allegedly tried to set up a Target account with the woman’s identity.

As detectives investigated Diamond, they discovered that she had allegedly been giving tellers a debit card and a Washington state identification card with her photograph to access accounts.

Diamond also was seen illegally accessing funds from banks in Irvine, Los Alamitos, Rolling Hills Estates, Camarillo, Placentia and Fullerton, police said.

Police released surveillance photographs of Diamond last week and asked for the public’s help in finding her after they found she was possibly responsible for fraud in Glendale and several other cities, officials said.

Diamond’s friends and acquaintances provided detectives with her name and address, police said.

Police tracked Diamond down and arrested her in Whittier on Thursday.

She is scheduled to appear in a Burbank courtroom on Dec. 27.

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