Crime

California man indicted, accused of impersonating Boise bank customers and withdrawing cash

A California man who impersonated several Wells Fargo customers withdrew nearly $35,000 from their Boise accounts after obtaining temporary debit cards in the customers’ names.

A federal grand jury meeting in Boise on Wednesday indicted Christopher Sheldon Miller, 40, of Union City, on eight counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. An appearance date has not yet been set.

The indictment accuses Miller and unknown conspirators of obtaining the names, account numbers and personal information on a number of Wells Fargo customers. They then obtained driver’s licenses with the names and dates of birth of the customers but with Miller’s photograph.

Miller then went to Wells Fargo branches to obtain temporary debit cards to withdraw money from the customers’ accounts by using the illegally obtained cards at bank branches or ATMs.

Miller fraudulently obtained $34,959, which was split between him and his conspirators, the grand jury found.

On June 25, prosecutors say Miller withdrew $8,430 from the account customer identified as “M.H.” at a Wells Fargo branch at 1205 S. Broadway Ave. in Boise. The same day he bought $961 worth of goods from the Macy’s store at the Boise Towne Center.

Two days later, he withdrew $8,000 from the account of “J.W.” at a Wells Fargo branch at 10342 Overland Road. The same day, he withdrew another $8,000 from J.W.’s account at a Wells Fargo branch at 210 E. Corporate Dr. in Meridian. He also withdrew $300 from the same account at a Wells Fargo ATM at a branch located at 1401 12th Ave. Road in Nampa.

In two other instances, Miller tried to withdraw $13,800 from an account belonging to “D.W.” at a Wells Fargo branch at 421 N. Orchard St. and an unknown amount from an account belonging to “R.J.” at a Wells branch at 877 W. Main St., but was unsuccessful. The indictment does not provide details on what happened at those branches.

Another $9,268 that Miller was accused of stealing was not detailed in the indictment.

If convicted, Miller faces up to 30 years in prison on each of the bank fraud counts and a mandatory two years on each of the identity theft counts and consecutive to any other sentences.

When he was arrested June 30, Miller was charged in state court on eight counts of grand theft, theft by receiving, burglary and misappropriation of personal identifying information for purchases.

Those charges are likely to be dismissed in light of the federal indictment. Miller is scheduled to appear in 4th District Court in Boise on Monday for a preliminary hearing.

He remains in the Ada County Jail on $100,000 bail on the state charges.

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