By day Ruben Salazar managed a Key Bank branch in Tacoma, allegedly skimming cash from old ladies' trust funds. By night, he belted tenor chorus numbers, backing up the stars of the Seattle Opera. While the chorus members don't get the accolades of the principals, they're paid singers in the highly competitive classical music world, which is nothing to sniff at. Still, no one not singing the arias got rich in opera. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an indictment of 19 counts of bank fraud against Salazar, saying he supplemented his income by pilfering at least $85,000, primarily by writing himself checks from elderly customers Social Security deposit accounts.
Opera spokeswoman Hilda Cullen says her organization is aware of the charges against Salazar, but that he opted out of the upcoming performance of Aida before the indictment was handed down. DOJ spokeswoman Emily Langlie says he turned himself in.