Elderly Customers Stung by Nearly $250k Embezzlement "Made Whole" by Wells Fargo

Watch your wallets, folks.
Watch your wallets, folks.
Photo by flickr user Toban B.

UPDATE, NOV. 30, 8:39 P.M.: Wells Fargo has issued a statement about the arrest of Jake Chih Wei Cheng that also answers a reader's question in the comments section about whether the victims got their money back.

From Wells Fargo Media Relations & Corporate Communications in Irvine:

Through the course of an internal investigation we discovered fraudulent activity. We took immediate action and handed the case to local authorities which resulted in the arrest. The individual is no longer employed by Wells Fargo and the two affected customers have been made whole.

ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 28, 7:01 A.M.: A former Wells Fargo bank teller was recently busted by detectives from the Huntington Beach Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service for allegedly defrauding two elderly customers out of nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

Jake Chih Wei Cheng befriended the customer of a Wells Fargo branch in Huntington Beach and convinced him to turn over nearly $200,000 that the 23-year-old bank teller would watch over, according to the law enforcement agencies, which claim Cheng siphoned the money out of the account by forging checks over nearly a year.

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Cheng then transferred to a branch in San Clemente, where it is alleged he defrauded another elderly customer out of more than $40,000, but this time Wells Fargo's fraud investigators discovered the thefts and contacted the victim's power of attorney. Cheng was terminated.

The Huntington Beach victim contacted police there, and what would become a year-long investigation was launched with the Secret Service. Cheng was arrested last Friday, Nov. 21, at his Tustin home on suspicion of embezzlement and money laundering. He also faces enhancements due to the high dollar amount of the theft and the fact that the victims were elderly. He will be prosecuted in federal court in Santa Ana.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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