ST. GEORGE — A California man was arrested recently after a bank teller became suspicious about his attempts to make two large withdrawals from the drive-thru of a bank in Hurricane.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, officers responded to a local bank on April 30 on a report of a fraud in progress involving a man who was initially in the bank’s drive-thru requesting to withdraw a large amount of cash.
Bank employees became suspicious when the suspect, later identified as 67-year-old Michael Gerald Toomey, of La Cresta, California, requested to withdrawal $50,000 from his account. The police report states that when the teller advised there were not enough funds in the account to accommodate his request, he then asked to withdrawal $20,000. At this point, he was asked to come into the branch to complete the transaction.
Once inside, the suspect allegedly provided a Texas driver’s license and a U.S. Passport that matched the information listed on the bank account, but when the teller asked Toomey to answer the security questions to verify he was in fact the account holder, Toomey was unable to provide accurate answers.
While the man was still in the lobby, the employee reached out to the bank’s fraud department, where a representative reached out to the customer listed on the account who was able to answer the security questions correctly. The customer verified that he was not at the bank at the time, the report states, but rather was at his home in Hurricane.
When police arrived, the suspect reportedly told them he had travelled to the area to purchase a 1964 Mustang that he found on Craigslist, but when asked he was unable to provide the advertisement or any photos of the car he purportedly intended to purchase.
Toomey also allegedly told officers he had traveled to Southern Utah with a woman he said was also on listed on the back account and whom he had dropped off in St. George prior to going to the bank. He said the couple had flown into town and were currently in a rental car.
The officer reported that when he asked how long he had been banking at the financial institution, Toomey responded by saying he had been a customer of the bank for more than 22 years and had income from running his own business.
While speaking to bank employees, officers learned the account had not been opened for as long as the suspect said and that the name of a business account attached to the primary account did not match the one provided by the suspect.
The suspect had also reportedly offered up other information about the account to the bank employees, which is what alerted them that a possible fraud was taking place, since the information from Toomey was given without the employee asking for it.
Officers also learned that the mailing address on the account had been recently changed over the phone, and since that point there had been three fraudulent attempts to withdraw funds that had taken place, each at a different branch.
When Toomey was told his information was not adding up, he reportedly told the officers he would not be answering any more questions, and he was taken into custody. During a search prior to transport officers found a piece of paper with a Social Security number written on it and four PayPal transactions.
The suspect allegedly asked the officer to retrieve a bag from his rental vehicle, and during a search of the bag, officers found a second piece of paper that was folded in a similar manner as the first with a different name and Social Security number written on it. Officers also found a rental agreement in the car that had a different name than the one used at the bank, as well as a small plastic bag from a marijuana dispensary containing a small amount of marijuana.
Presented with numerous possible identities and a suspicion that the passport was faked, officers reached out to a Homeland Security agent who arrived at the bank and took the suspect’s fingerprints that ultimately identified him as Toomey.
A background check would later reveal that Toomey had an extensive criminal record that included cases involving fraud, domestic violence and other related crimes that spanned four states, which Hurricane Police Officer Ken Thompson told St. George News included Arizona, California, Ohio and Florida.
Thompson also said the suspect was charged with similar felony offenses in the Arizona case, which was filed less than two weeks previous.
On May 3, Toomey was charged with three second-degree felony charges, including identity fraud and two counts of producing or transferring any false identification document. He also faces third-degree felony possession of another’s identifying documents as well as one misdemeanor count of providing false information with intent to be another actual person. He faces misdemeanor drug and paraphernalia charges as well.
Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.
This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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