Local woman accused of bilking thousands from parents

She is suspected of grand theft and other charges.

A longtime local resident is suspected of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from her parents by using their credit card and writing fraudulent checks on such expenses as rent, utilities and a cash-advance outlet in town, according to a sheriff’s detective who shared details of the case.
The San Benito County Sheriff’s Office arrested Brenda Bonturi-Klassen on Jan. 12, at her home in the 1400 block of Mesa Court, on suspicion of grand theft and other charges related to allegations that she spent more than $180,000 with her parents’ credit card and checks without authorization, said Detective Bryan Penney with the sheriff’s office.
Penney alleged Bonturi-Klassen, when questioned in the investigation, contended she used about half of that amount on expenses for her parents and that records appeared to corroborate that.
The victim’s adult son initially noticed discrepancies for the period of three years ending in December, leading to a sheriff’s office investigation. The suspected fraud involved “hundreds of checks” on the everyday expenses and cash-outs, Penney said.
Bonturi-Klassen remained at the San Benito County Jail as of Wednesday afternoon with bail set at $56,000, said Lt. Edward Escamilla, the top jail commander.
Before her arrest, Bonturi-Klassen had worked as a rural postal delivery driver and as a caregiver for her parents, Penney said. Her mother passed away in late September at age 88.
Penney added a note of precaution about this type of case, especially for senior citizens. He warned that they should keep a close watch on their checking accounts, examining them monthly, especially if someone is helping to pay the bills.
“This is obviously something that could’ve been minimized tremendously if it was caught early on,” Penney said.

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