Yuba Senior Center's bank account drained of rent money
The Yuba County Senior Center is feeling another setback, after a debit card reader at a Linda ATM led to the center's account being drained for $1,600 worth of theme park tickets.
Center Secretary-Treasurer Irene Broome said she had the account frozen as soon as the fraudulent transactions popped up last week, but she is still not sure if they will be reversed and the money restored.
"We work really, really hard for the money we have," Broome said. "It doesn't seem right that someone would take that from us."
Broome said she believes the center's account was compromised earlier this month when she used the center's debit card to get gas at the AM/PM gas station on North Beale Road in Linda. At the time, Broome said she was performing errands for the center, which reimburses her a small amount for expenses.
Law enforcement eventually determined someone had installed a card reader at the station to steal account information. But Broome said she did not realize the account was compromised until last week, when she made a deposit to the account and noticed the balance was significantly off.
She and Yuba County Sheriff's Department investigators determined between Oct. 19-23, someone used account information to buy multiple tickets online to Busch Gardens, Sea World in Florida, Magic Mountain and Knotts Berry Farm.
"Because they did it online, they didn't need a PIN," Broome said.
She has filed a report with the Sheriff's Department and the bank, but because multiple jurisdictions would be involved, investigating will take time. In many such cases, no one is ever caught.
With the center's primary sources of revenue coming from bingo and craft fairs, Broome said, the theft is a big blow.
"That's half our monthly rent," she said.
Based in the Olivehurst Comm nity Center on Olivehurst Avenue, the senior center's future is uncertain because of a lack of money to pay rent. Citing its own tight finances, the county shut off financial support to the center years ago.
Broome said an anonymous benefactor has covered the center's rent through the end of the year with the Yuba County Superintendent of Schools, which owns the building.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.