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Thursday, April 25, 2024

New Yorker suspected of cashing fraudulent check at Citizens First Bank in Leesburg

A New York man has been tracked down on a Lake County warrant charging him with cashing a fraudulent check at a Leesburg bank.

Danny Juliano Tirado
Danny Juliano Tirado

Danny Juliano Tirado, 52, was transferred this past week from Rikers Island Jail in New York to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office on grand theft and forgery charges from a case in which he falsely made himself the recipient of a check from a business.  

On Aug. 3, 2023, an officer with the Leesburg Police Department responded to Lakeside Electrical Services, located at 2204 Griffin Road, regarding a fraud complaint, according to an affidavit of probable cause out of Lake County. 

The officer met with the complainant, one of the owners of the business, who stated that she received a notification that one of her vendors, City Electric, owed money for unpaid invoices. She checked her QuickBooks software and noted that the bill in question was paid on May 12, 2023. A company check of $4,240.44 made payable to City Electric Supply was mailed to the business on that date and cashed. She could not recall if it was picked up by the mail carrier or placed in a mailbox, but the check was sent to the vendor through U.S. Mail, the affidavit said. 

The complainant contacted her bank, Citizens First Bank, and obtained a copy of the check. The copy showed the check had been altered and was now showing payable to Tirado instead of City Electric Supply. Additionally, the font on the “Pay To The Order Of” and “Memo” sections of the check was not the same as their current issued bank checks. It was also noted that the city in the address of the check, listed at Tirado’s address, was misspelled as “Orlano” rather than “Orlando,” the affidavit said. 

The complainant provided documentation from Citizens First Bank and an Affidavit of Check Alteration. The officer had her complete an LPD fraud packet, which was included in the report, the affidavit said. 

On Aug. 7, 2023, an LPD detective was assigned investigative responsibility for the case and reviewed the officer’s incident report, the fraud packet and related documents including a copy of the front and back of the altered check, the affidavit said. 

A review of the fraud packet showed that it was completed and signed by the male co-owner of Lakeside Electrical Services. It stated that the owner of Lakeside Electrical Services did not authorize anyone to use his personal or business information to obtain money, credit, goods or services listed in the incident report and that he did not receive any benefit because of the fraudulent activity that was reported. To the best of the owner’s knowledge, the person responsible for the fraudulent act was Tirado, the affidavit said. 

The narrative portion of the fraud packet was consistent with what was documented by the officer, however the owner stated that he was unsure if the check was mailed or if it was picked up by a carrier from City Electric Supply, not the mail carrier. The owner stated that after being contacted by the business and verifying that the bill was paid in their in-house records, the bank account was checked. A photo of the check was available, and when it was opened, it was discovered that the check had been altered. The bank was contacted to report the fraudulent activity, the account was closed and the police were contacted, the affidavit said. 

The detective next reviewed a copy of the altered check and noted that the font for Tirado’s name and the font for his address were the same, but the font was noticeably different than the font from the rest of the check. It was also noted that everything in the different font was capitalized. The back of the check had an endorsement signature that appeared to be “Danny Tirado,” the affidavit said. 

Listed under the signature appeared to be a state of New York license number and expiration as well as the date of birth of the license holder. It was determined that the check was cashed at the Leesburg branch of Citizens First Bank, located at 800 West North Boulevard, on June 7, 2023, the affidavit said. 

The detective then looked over the Affidavit of Check Alteration, which was completed by the complainant at the bank on Aug. 3, 2023, and notarized by the assistant branch manager. The information in the affidavit was consistent with what was previously reported with a printout of how the original check appeared. It was noted that the font for the payee, City Electric Supply, and the name and address of the company was the same as the rest of the check unlike the altered version, the affidavit said. 

An internet search for the address listed on the altered check revealed it was a rental property that was vacant and available for rent according to multiple real estate websites. However, other investigative resources were used to obtain a copy of the New York State driver’s license with a photo of Tirado. The information on file was consistent with what was listed on the back of the altered check, including the license number, expiration date and date of birth, the affidavit said. 

The detective also obtained the Florida driver’s license for Tirado which had the same social security number, date of birth and height as the New York license. Additionally, it listed his place of birth as New York, and it showed as Real ID complaint which means additional identification documentation was required before the license was issued. A comparison of the photos from New York and Florida shows that they were the same person, and a comparison of the endorsement signature on the altered check was significantly similar to his license, the affidavit said. 

After successfully subpoenaing the bank for security footage of the check transaction from June 7, 2023, the detective watched the footage from the interior and exterior of the bank. Tirado was seen approaching the bank on foot from the southside of the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 441 and Lee Street. He entered the bank, walked through the lobby and approached the right-most teller station, the affidavit said. 

Tirado then presented the altered check to the teller with his identification. The check was returned to him along with a pen that he used to endorse the check. The teller took the check back and wrote the identification information below his signature. The check was cashed, Tirado took the proceeds, and he walked out of the bank across U.S. Hwy. 441 to a parking lot on the south side of the road. He got into the passenger side of what appeared to be a white Toyota Camry, and the vehicle left the parking lot southbound on U.S. Hwy. 441, the affidavit said. 

A comparison of the suspect in the video with the known photos of Tirado showed that they appeared to be the same person. Furthermore, he was listed at 5’02” in height, and the person in the security videos was short in stature, the affidavit said. 

A criminal history check revealed that Tirado had arrest records in Florida, New York and North Carolina. His Florida record included arrests for battery (domestic), harassing victim/witness, auto theft, cocaine possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of probation, loitering/prowling, dealing in stolen property, false statement to pawn broker, aggravated assault with deadly weapon and contempt of court, the affidavit said. 

His New York record included arrests for rape, unlawful imprisonment, robbery, menacing, criminal possession of weapon/firearm and criminal possession of stolen property. For North Caroline, it included possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, felony larceny, breaking and/or entering, possession of stolen property and robbery with dangerous weapon, the affidavit said. 

Tirado was ultimately arrested in Elmhurst County, New York, and charged with uttering forged check and grand theft. He was transported to Lake County Jail with bond set at $4,000. 

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