An arrest warrant has been issued for James Jones, 33, of the Bronx, NY, who is charged with using withdrawal slips at various banks to impersonate customers and take money out of the customer’s account.
Jones is charged by the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office with five counts each of theft by deception, access device fraud, receiving stolen property and identity theft; and two counts of criminal attempt.
"We have not yet determined how he is getting the bank account information for the people he is impersonating," said Mike Manko, spokesman for the district attorney's office.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the district attorney's office, a PNC Bank investigator contacted the district attorney's investigations office on Nov. 20, 2012 to report illegal PNC Bank withdrawals between Aug. 14 and Oct. 26 that totaled $40,000, including accounts from the Pittsburgh area.
The bank representative gave county investigators withdrawal slips sealed in clear plastic cases that were used in the bogus transactions. Pictures from a video of the man making the illegal withdrawals were also provided.
The transactions occurred in the Philadelphia/New Jersey area, where Jones is accused of impersonating Allegheny County residents, as well as the Pittsburgh area. According to the complaint, the suspect, later identified as Jones, would have the victim's account number, the victim's Pennsylania driver's license but with his photo on it, as well as a credit or debit card with the victim's name.
Only accounts of individuals with substantial funds were targeted, the complaint stated.
The incidents were:
- Nov. 5, 2012—$4,800 was taken from the PNC Bank in Sicklerville, NJ from an Allegheny County resident's account. Again on Nov. 13, the suspect stole $4,500 from the same victim by using his account number at a PNC branch in New Castle, DE.
- Nov. 20, 2012—$1,325 was taken from an Allegheny County resident at a PNC Branch in Fredericksburg, VA.
- Jan. 8—$1,300 was taken from the PNC branch on Penn Circle South in East Liberty. This victim was not an Allegheny County resident.
- Jan. 8—The suspect attempted to withdraw $5,000 from the PNC Bank on Penn Avenue in Wilkinsburg.
An investigator who spoke to the victims determined that none of them gave Jones permission or authorization to use or access their money or PNC accounts. Allegheny County Crime Unit processed the withdrawal slips for fingerprints, which were then examined by a latent lab examiner and checked for a match through the Automated Fingerprint System and International Automater Fingerprint System.
On Jan. 22, the latent print examiner was able to identify the prints as belonging to Jones, who had prior arrests in New York. An arrest photo of Jones also matched the video taken at the PNC in Wilkinsburg.
Anyone with any information on Jones is asked to call the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office at 412-388-5300.