Man accused of stealing thousands by cashing checks taken from woman’s mailbox
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REXBURG — A Rexburg man is accused of grand theft and forgery after he allegedly stole thousands by cashing checks taken from a woman’s mailbox.
Benjamin Scott Calderon, 25, appeared in court Monday to be arraigned on the following felonies: two counts of forgery, two counts of grand theft, one count of accessing of a financial transaction card or number without consent and one count of computer crime. Court documents show a plea agreement is in the works.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, the Rexburg Police Department received a complaint of fraud on Feb. 25, from a woman claiming her bank, Key Bank, had questions about two checks cashed from her account. The two checks were written for $5,000 and $4,000 and allegedly written out to someone by the name of Benjamin Calderon, who was also listed on her account. The memo line on the check contained the words “money for school.”
The victim told police she did not have checks for her Key Bank account but received a strange email saying she had ordered checks. The victim said she thought the email to be an error and disregarded it until being contacted by the bank. She also said she did not know anyone by the name of Benjamin Calderon, according to court documents.
Detectives spoke with the teller at the bank who claims a man walked into the bank to cash a $4,000 check. The teller asked for two forms of ID, which the man cashing the checks presented.
“She (the teller) also stated she had made conversation with the suspect about the check and the high amount of the check to which she stated that the suspect told her that (the victim) was his grandmother and had given him the money to pay for school,” according to court documents.
Investigators reviewed surveillance footage from February of the man cashing the check and compared it to photos of Calderon to determine a positive identification. The information was passed onto Madison County prosecutors to obtain a warrant and prosecute Calderon for the alleged thefts, according to court documents.
Upon contacting Brigham Young University-Idaho officials, and looking through database, detectives were able to determine Calderon was formerly a student at BYU-Idaho but was not at the time of the alleged thefts. Police were able to track down Calderon living at a Rexburg apartment. He agreed to speak with investigators and they transported him to the police department for questioning.
During interviews with detectives, Calderon said he had been living in Rexburg off and on since 2016, waiting to be married to his girlfriend who was attending school. The investigators confronted Calderon about the alleged thefts, which he admitted too. He told police, that he had gotten ahold of some checks while going through peoples mail and used them, according to the court documents.
It is unclear if Calderon was able to order checks attached to the woman’s account.
Calderon told detectives he cashed the first check for $4,000 at Key Bank and the second one for $5,000 at a Wells Fargo. He claims the second check did not go through and he did not obtain those funds. He told investigators he did use the $4,000 to catch up on rent and bills.
“(Calderon) stated that after he had done it he had regretted it. He went on to say that he was willing to take the punishment for what he had done,” according to court documents.
Calderon has since been released from the Madison County Jail and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 3.