Suspect faces trial for identity theft

A 48-year-old Whittier woman, who allegedly stole more than $100,000 from victims throughout Southern California, was ordered Wednesday to stand trial for identity theft in Glendale.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Patrick Hegarty found prosecutors presented sufficient evidence against Natalie Diamond during a preliminary hearing to proceed to a trial after she rejected an earlier offer from prosecutors to spend three years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea.

Diamond, who has been previously convicted of burglary and grand theft, faces three counts of identity theft and one count of grand theft of personal property in connection with illegally withdrawing more than $12,000 from an Altadena woman’s bank account.

Glendale police detectives say Diamond has also stolen $138,980 from victims in Ventura and Orange counties, but could only file charges against her in their case.

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

Glendale Police Det. Shawn Milligan testified that Diamond used a woman’s bank account and California identification to withdraw more than $4,000 at each of three different Wells Fargo banks in Glendale, Pasadena and Arcadia in the span of three days.

Bank teller Dace Obrascovs told prosecutors that she specifically recalled Diamond’s transaction in September at a Wells Fargo bank in Glendale because she allegedly used an Armenian woman’s identification card.

Obrascovs testified that she also had Diamond repeat a signature because it didn’t quite match up with others under the Altadena woman’s bank account.

“I was uncomfortable about a few things,” she said. “I took quite a while to think things through.”

Glendale police arrested Diamond in December after asking for the public’s help with identifying her from video surveillance photographs taken from a Wells Fargo Bank.

Diamond’s friends and acquaintances allegedly provided detectives with her name and address, and she was eventually tracked down to her home in Whittier.

During the preliminary hearing, Diamond’s brother, Maurice Diamond, and her landlord, Richard O’Connell, identified her as the same woman who appeared in surveillance photographs from the bank.

After the illegal bank transactions, Diamond allegedly changed her hair from a straight-blond to a shorter, darker style.

Diamond is scheduled to appear Feb. 22 in a Pasadena courtroom for arraignment. She remained in custody Wednesday in lieu of $210,000 bail.

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