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Friday, May 24, 2013

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC - Lexington County Sheriff’s Department deputies in cooperation with the U.S. Secret Service arrested a 52-year-old Georgia woman on charges that on May 20 the woman presented a forged wire transfer document and counterfeit California driver’s license that falsely identified her as another woman at a Bank of America branch on St. Andrews Road near Irmo in an effort to transfer more than $133,000 from the bank account of a business to a man’s bank account.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said deputies arrested Vivienne Kaye Bloch, 52, of 2966 Jonesboro Road, Decatur, Ga. Detective Steve Baumgardner, who investigates fraud and other white-collar crimes, obtained arrest warrants for Bloch on charges of forgery involving more than $10,000, financial identity theft, defrauding a federally chartered or insured financial institution and financial transaction card theft. Bloch was being held on Thursday, May 23 at the Lexington County Detention Center on bail totaling $600,000.

Detectives are continuing to investigate Bloch’s involvement in a criminal ring that has submitted forged documents at banks across the country in an effort to conduct unauthorized transfers from bank accounts of businesses, defrauding banks of millions of dollars, Metts said. Bloch is under investigation in Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina in cases in which someone submitted forged wire transfer documents, cashier’s checks or cash withdrawals at banks in an effort to authorize the transfer of nearly $1.5 million from the bank accounts of businesses to unauthorized bank accounts.

Arrest warrants allege that on May 20 Bloch entered a Bank of America branch at 4300 St. Andrews Road and presented a forged Bank of America document for a wire transfer in the amount of $133,642.28 along with a counterfeit California driver’s license that falsely identified Bloch as another woman, Metts said. Bloch forged the name of the woman whose name was on the counterfeit California driver’s license on the wire transfer document. The forged wire transfer document would have authorized the transfer of money from the bank account of a business to a man’s Bank of America bank account.

Arrest warrants also allege that Bloch illegally possessed an American Express Optima credit card that had been issued in the name of the woman whose name was on the counterfeit California driver’s license, Metts said.

When they became aware of the request to authorize a wire transfer of money from the bank account of the business to the man’s Bank of America bank account, fraud investigators with Bank of America’s corporate office asked employees at the Bank of America branch on St. Andrews Road to report the incident to the Sheriff’s Department, Metts said. Deputies arrived at the Bank of America branch office on St. Andrews Road at about 10:20 a.m. on Monday and detained Bloch as she tried to leave the branch office.

Deputies requested assistance from Baumgardner in further investigating the incident, Metts said. Baumgardner then requested assistance from the U.S. Secret Service. Deputies later arrested Bloch.

Metts said the case remains under investigation. The sheriff asked anyone with information about additional criminal activity involving Bloch to contact the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department at (803) 785-8230 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Citizens also can provide information anonymously by accessing the Crime Tip link on the Sheriff’s Department web site (www.lexingtonsheriff.com).

If you, or someone you know, have any information regarding any crime, you are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers. You could earn a reward up to $1,000.

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