Roberto Omar Ernesto Bastardo Pena, a former Wells Fargo employee of Jupiter, Florida, was arrested on September 16 and is being charged with grand theft and fraud. Pena, 33, allegedly took $185,000 from the account of a Wells Fargo client and transferred it to a fake checking account under his control.
Pena reportedly confessed the crime to his boss before going to Jupiter police. Jail records show he was released the following day after paying a $30,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court again on October 17. News sources did not name an attorney for Pena.
According to the police report, Pena was an employee of the Wells Fargo branch in Abacoa Plaza. He purportedly stole the money to pay for his autistic son’s medical treatment. Pena searched the bank’s database in August and found a bank account belonging to an elderly Chilean woman that contained $185,000 and hadn’t been used in three years. He wired the money to a fake checking account and had a cousin withdraw $800.
Police say Pena purportedly told them that from the $800 his cousin withdrew, $200 was him and $600 was for his cousin’s rent. He thought it would be less suspicious if his cousin used the bogus checking account on his behalf. A week after the withdrawal, Pena allegedly came clean and told his boss and Jupiter police everything, leading to his arrest on grand theft and fraud charges.
A similar case was reported in the same week involving Christine Brown Wesley of Jupiter, Florida. Wesley, 44, allegedly stole over $525,000 from the law firm Vernis and Bowling over the past two years. She was booked into Palm Beach County jail and released on bond a day later. It is unclear if she has sought legal representation.
According to the arrest report, Wesley was an employee at Vernis and Bowling for 12 years before being promoted to manager at the firm’s North Palm Beach offices. Her new position came with an $8,000 salary bump and access to the firm’s passwords and finances.
Financial records show that Wesley allegedly paid herself $81,000 and $150,000 in bonuses in 2014 and 2015 respectively. She had reportedly earmarked a $70,000 bonus for herself this year, but was caught when the firm’s pension plan coordinator noticed the unusual payouts.
After months of investigation, Wesley was finally arrested two weeks ago on grand theft charges. News sources did not say when her trial is scheduled to begin.