Bank teller in SEFCU fraud case arrested on weapon charges, Bethlehem turns case over to Feds
SpotlightNews.com (Delmar, NY)
COLONIE – The SEFCU bank teller involved in a fraud ring now faces weapons charges after a search of her residence during the October investigation yielded an illegal handgun.
Caeshara Cannon, 32, of Colonie, was arrested on Monday, Nov. 28 after Sheriff's investigators and Bethlehem detectives executed a search warrant in October stemming from the fraud investigation. During the search, investigators found Cannon to be in possession of a .22 caliber handgun.
According to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, investigators found the weapon was defaced to remove the serial number and Cannon did not have a permit to have a handgun. Further charges may be coming, he said.
In this incident, she was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, and one count of criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor. She was arraigned in Colonie Town Court and released on her own recognizance.
Fraud case turned over to Feds
Cannon was also the center of a fraud ring that initially involved more than $100k in fraudulent loans made out with the information of SEFCU customers, according to reports.
The case has now been forwarded to the federal US Attorney's office due to the nature and scope of the fraud, Bethlehem Deputy Chief James Rexford said.
Three additional victims came forward which added $19,000 to the total fraud, since Spotlight News first reported on this. However, those victims came forward around the time of the original arrests, he said.
"After identifying the fraudulent activity occurring at one of our branches, Broadview FCU's dedicated team of Financial Crime professionals worked with law enforcement to address this issue. " Ken Jubie, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations Broadview FCU said. "We are pleased to share that no additional victims were found (since the original response)."
Because the case was still active, he did not want to comment further on the investigation.
"As you know, the fraud committed against our organization was just a small part of this ring's criminal activity. Still, Broadview is pleased to have played a large role in stopping it," he said. "As always, we continue to prioritize the safety and security of our employees, members, and their assets."
SEFCU and CAPcom announced a merger of the two local credit unions in June, to rebrand under a new name, Broadview Federal Credit Union. Branches currently still display the SEFCU and CAPcom signage as the rebrand continues.
Spotlight News reached out to the US Attorney's office but did not hear back.
In her capacity as a Glenmont branch teller, Cannon allegedly accessed, stole and forwarded to at least three others in the ring, who then received the personal loans and withdrew money.
On October 13, the SEFCU branch at 12 Vista Blvd in Slingerlands called police to report a man was attempting to use fraudulent identification to withdraw $20,000 from the credit union. Police arrested Davon Parson, 19, of Albany, from inside the credit union. At the same time, they stopped Evan Cutler, 23, of Menands, in the parking lot for driving without a license in an uninsured vehicle.
Once the two were in custody, police said they started to piece together a larger scheme, with the assistance of SEFCU Fraud Prevention, that involved two additional people. Dnauticah Taylor-Sterman, 20, of Menands, had applied and received a loan a week before under a name she allegedly received from Cannon.
According to police records, the three created supporting documentation after obtaining the identities of SEFCU customers from Cannon. They would then apply for and receive approval for personal loans, receiving cash in the transactions. Police said the first of several transactions began when Parson and Cutler allegedly cashed a $9,000 check at the Glenmont branch in August.
The investigation is ongoing and more victims have come forward. According to available reports, the timeline is:
August 13 – Parson and Cutler allegedly cash a $9,000 check at the SEFCU Glenmont branch against the funds of a SEFCU customer with information provided by branch employee Cannon.
September 21 – Cutler applies for and is approved for a fraudulent personal loan of $25,000 at SEFCU with the information of a male SEFCU customer received from Cannon using a fake NY driver's license.
October 7 – Taylor-Sterman applies for and is approved for a $25,000 personal loan at a SEFCU branch with the information of a female SEFCU customer received from Cannon using a fake NY driver's license. Taylor-Sterman withdrew $5,000 immediately from the new account and returned with her boyfriend, Cutler, to withdraw the remaining $20,000.
October 13 – Bethlehem police were called to the SEFCU Slingerlands branch to investigate Parsons attempting to withdraw $20,000 from the branch using a fake NY ID Card of another Male. Cutler, who was driving Parsons, was stopped trying to flee in a vehicle by police in the parking lot, gave officers a fake name because he had no license due to DWAI conviction. The vehicle also had no insurance.Parsons and Cutler are arrested. Parsons has three outstanding warrants from Warren County.
October 14 – Bethlehem police interview Cannon and execute a search warrant at her residence. Police find a defaced and loaded handgun, cash and a large amount of concentrated cannabis and cannabis packaged for sale. She was arrested for the identity theft charges, but the Albany County Sheriff's office is investigating the weapon and drug charges.
October 21 – More victims have come forward and further charges are expected. The total money stolen exceeded $100,000.
November 28 – Cannon is arrested on weapons charges.
November 30 – Bethlehem police report the case has been referred to the US Attorney's Office.
The credit union said through a spokesman that it is continuing to monitor the situation.
"Maintaining the safety and security of our employees, members, and their assets is our top priority. We are cooperating with law enforcement to ensure this situation is resolved swiftly and justice is served,"Jubie said in October.
Bethlehem police originally charged Cutler with felonies of grand larceny, identity theft, possession of a forged instrument, falsifying business records and misdemeanors of false impersonation, criminal impersonation, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, conspiracy and aggravated unlicensed operation.
Parson was charged with felonies of grand larceny, identity theft, possession of a forged instrument, falsifying business records and misdemeanors of conspiracy and criminal impersonation. He was also wanted on three outstanding warrants from Warren County Sheriff's office.
Taylor-Sterman was charged with felonies of grand larceny, identity theft, possession of a forged instrument, falsifying business records and misdemeanor criminal impersonation.
Cannon was charged with felonies of grand larceny, identity theft, possession of a forged instrument, falsifying business records.
Additional Federal charges may be coming now that the US Attorney's office has the case.
All four were arraigned in Bethlehem Town Court by Andrew Kirby and released on their own recognizance at that time. Parson was handed over to the Warren County Sheriff's office.