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Cash transfer leads to charge

A truck stop's former manager helped himself to $200,000 of his employer's money, authorities say.

Published August 24, 2006

LARGO - An ex-manager of a truck stop in Tampa has been charged with transferring $200,000 from his former employer's business account to his own and eventually withdrawing the cash from a Pinellas Park bank.

Surinder Singh, whose last known address is in the 9000 block of 84th Terrace in Largo, had been wanted since the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office filed charges in June, according to authorities.

Singh, 49, was arrested about 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the 4600 block of N 28th Street in St. Petersburg.

Singh had been a manager at Singh 301 Inc. truck stop in the 6500 block of U.S. 301 in Tampa, according to a sheriff's investigator. The owner of the truck stop is Prem Singh, whom authorities said is not related to Surinder Singh.

In late December, after Surinder Singh was no longer the manger of the truck stop, he opened a new account in the name of Singh 301 Inc., at a Bank of America branch in the 5100 block of Park Boulevard, according to court records.

A couple of days later, Prem Singh deposited $200,000 into the truck stop's legitimate business account, which was also in the name of Singh 301 Inc., according to investigators.

Around Jan. 10, Surinder Singh allegedly transferred the money to his Singh 301 Inc. account, according to court records. Then he transferred the money to his personal account, which was also at Bank of America. Then he picked up the money in cash from the bank.

It was unclear how Singh was able to gain access to the legitimate Singh 301 Inc. account, said Pinellas County sheriff's spokesman Mac McMullen. But a bank fraud investigator told sheriff's officials that Surinder Singh used the same tax identification number as the legitimate business account to open the fraudulent one. That may have allowed him to access both accounts.

Singh was charged with one count of grand theft and was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday in lieu of $300,000 bail.

[Last modified August 24, 2006, 07:01:20]

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