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Woman charged with stealing, identity theft after $250,000+ stolen from bank

Tanya Garay-Contreras, 31, is charged with identity theft and stealing, which are class B and C felonies, respectively.

Court documents say Garay-Contreras accessed the information of the checking account of an unidentified man, and went on to withdraw over $250,000 from February to September 2017. According to court documents, after she was arrested, she admitted to obtaining the account information and using it pay her own bills as well as others.

Multiple Columbia residents have told ABC 17 and law enforcement officers that Garay-Contreras scammed them out of money.

According to the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, Garay-Contreras, to an extent, targeted individuals that were behind on their utility bills or struggled to pay them regularly. In general, Garay-Contreras offered to pay their utility bill online in exchange for a portion of the bill in cash. She allegedly used the aforementioned bank account information to pay their utility bill.

However, some say their bills were never paid by Garay-Contreras. Victims that contacted ABC 17 say their bills went unpaid for a period of time, resulting in late fees and deactivated services.

The Boone County Prosecutor’s Office said it appears the investigation is ongoing, and they are still looking over information to learn the full scope of the case. Anyone that has been affected or who has information regarding the crime is encouraged to contact their law enforcement agency. Multiple victims have already filled out police reports.

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