A former bank employee on St. Thomas has been charged with using two customers’ personal information to obtain fraudulent debit cards and siphon more than $20,000 from their accounts over the course of a year, according to an indictment filed in U.S. District Court.
Natasha Seetaram was indicted by a grand jury on Oct. 22. She was charged with 50 counts of bank fraud, five counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of using an unauthorized access device, two counts of making false entries in bank records, and forfeiture allegations seeking repayment of all stolen funds, according to the indictment unsealed Monday by Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller. The indictment lists two victims, identified by their initials, who were St. Thomas residents with accounts at “BP,” which is “a bank based in Puerto Rico that maintained multiple branch offices in St. Thomas.”
Seetaram worked at the bank from April to December 2018 and used her employee access to account holder information to issue ATH debit cards in the two victims’ names, according to the indictment.
“Instead of giving the fraudulent cards to the customers in whose names the cards were issued, Seetaram used the fraudulent cards for her own personal benefit without lawful authorization,” withdrawing cash from one account at ATMs, and using the other to make purchases. In May 2019, “well after she was terminated by BP, Seetaram relocated to Jacksonville, Fla., where she continued to make purchases using one of the fraudulent cards for personal purchases through October 2019,” according to the indictment.
The 50 counts of bank fraud correspond to 50 transactions made with the cards, including 36 ATM withdrawals of $500 each, totaling $18,000. The indictment also lists 14 purchases made with the other victim’s card, totaling $3,183.30, for a total of $21,183.30 in what prosecutors say were fraudulent transactions.
Seetaram made her initial court appearance Wednesday.