Former bank teller accused of stealing from aunt, teenager

She is accused of being a heartless — and spendthrift — bank teller.

Arcelia Aguilar, 28, an ex-employee at a Redwood City bank, allegedly assumed her mother’s identity and used her Social Security number to secure a job at the bank.

Once employed, Aguilar allegedly transferred tens of thousands of dollars that had belonged to her 74-year-old aunt into her own account. She also filched funds from a 16-year-old girl who had received a sizeable inheritance from her dead mother, prosecutors said.

The Redwood City resident was a teller at San Mateo County Credit Union when the alleged crimes occurred during two days last year. She allegedly transferred $40,000 of her elderly aunt’s funds into her own account, and $33,000 of the 16-year-old girl’s money, prosecutors said.

Aguilar was arrested July this year after a family member reported her to authorities for using her mother’s Social Security number, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. The credit union told The Examiner it caught the fraudulent transfers and reported it to police.

The stolen funds apparently weren’t for the purpose of savings. An “audit revealed the fraud and suspect had spent all but $5,000 of the stolen money,” prosecutors said.

Aguilar has been evasive with authorities on where the money went, Wagstaffe said. Prosecutors say she might have used her mother’s Social Security number to cover an extreme amount of debt she might carry.

Aguilar was released from custody on the same day she was arrested after posting $25,000 bail. She pleaded not guilty to the crimes Wednesday, Wagstaffe said.

“She said, ‘I was trying to buy that house,’” Wagstaffe said. “But there was no mention of where or how. We don’t know where the money went.”

The credit union has restored the victims’ accounts, said Steve Tabler, vice president of marketing for the San Mateo County Credit Union.

“Where we stand is all members are protected,” he said. “They would not have lost a dime.”

Members’ funds are protected up to $250,000, he said.

Tabler would not comment on how Aguilar was able to obtain a job on a false Social Security number, saying it was a personnel matter.

Prosecutors are asking a judge to increase Aguilar’s bail. They also want to investigate where she came up with the $25,000 bail amount, Wagstaffe said. The bail hearing is set for Aug. 13, with a felony preliminary hearing scheduled for late September, he said.

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