Friday, September 9, 2011

Police: Former bank teller embezzled

Woman allegedly stole cash from another tellerís drawer


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Erika M. Ruiz

A former teller at Wells Fargo Bank in Hailey has been charged with a felony for allegedly stealing from the bank.

An initial court appearance on a charge of grand theft by embezzlement is scheduled for Monday in Blaine County Magistrate Court for Erika M. Ruiz, a 21-year-old Hailey woman. Ruiz is also charged in a separate case with another felony for allegedly illegally using a co-worker's debit-card number.

Ruiz is represented by Ketchum attorney Andrew Parnes in both cases.

She was also the alleged victim in a Hailey stabbing case dismissed earlier this month in Blaine County 5th District Court.

In the embezzlement case, an arrest warrant was issued for Ruiz on Aug. 31 based upon a probable-cause affidavit filed by Hailey police Lt. Steve England. According to court records, Ruiz voluntarily surrendered to police on Aug. 31 after learning of the arrest warrant. She was released from custody that same day after posting $10,000 bond.

England wrote in his report that Ruiz became employed as a teller at Wells Fargo on March 30. Her employment was terminated on June 15 following a bank investigation. The case was turned over to the Hailey Police Department in July.

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Ruiz is accused in the affidavit of embezzling $1,050 in cash sometime between April 27 and May 9. She is accused of taking $1,000 from the unlocked cash drawer of another teller and of stealing $50 in $1 coins from a cash vault.

In a separate case, Ruiz was charged on Aug. 26 with unauthorized use of a financial transaction card. She allegedly illegally used the debit-card number of a co-worker at the nursery school of Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood in Ketchum to transfer $65.75 to the telephone accounts of two Blaine County jail inmates.

A probable-cause affidavit filed in that case by Ketchum police identified one of the inmates as 21-year-old Alberto Romero-Torres, who was incarcerated in March on a charge of aggravated battery for allegedly stabbing Ruiz in the stomach during an altercation at the couple's home in Hailey.

The charge against Romero-Torres was dismissed late last week and he was released from jail to the custody of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on a charge of being in the United States illegally. The Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office has declined to release specific information as to why the charge against Romero-Torres was dismissed.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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