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Woman suspected in Irvine bank thefts arrested

December 16, 2011|By Veronica Rocha
(Roger Wilson, Glendale…)

Police arrested a 48-year-old Whittier woman Thursday who was suspected of stealing $14,000 from at least two dozen personal bank accounts in Irvine, Los Alamitos, Fullerton, Placentia and other cities.

Natalie Diamond was taken into custody at a neighbor's home in Whittier after detectives went to her home to issue court-ordered arrest and search warrants, but noticed she wasn't there, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

Detectives went door-to-door throughout the neighborhood until they found her, he added.

Police released surveillance photographs of Diamond last week, asking for the public's help in finding her.

"Since her pictures were first released … we have been receiving nonstop calls here on her whereabouts," Lorenz said.

Tipsters who knew Diamond provided police with her name and address, he said.

Police have also seized evidence from her home on the 1000 block of Valley Home Avenue.

Still, detectives "don't know to what extent or how much" was stolen from people's bank accounts, Lorenz said.

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Authorities allege the fraud affected personal accounts from across Southern California to as far as Texas.

"There may be more that have not been reported," he said.

Glendale police began investigating Diamond after an Altadena woman reported that someone accessed her bank account from April 2010 to September, police said. Diamond also allegedly tried to set up a Target account with the woman's identity.

Soon after, they discovered that Diamond had visited bank branches in Glendale, Pasadena and Arcadia, giving tellers a debit card and a Washington state identification card with her photograph to access accounts, police said.

She was also seen illegally withdrawing funds from banks in Rolling Hills Estates and Camarillo, Placentia, police said.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA

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