Ex-bank manager pleads guilty to stealing nearly $1.28M from vulnerable customers
(The Center Square) – A former bank manager from southwest Washington pled guilty Thursday in federal court to stealing more than $1 million from customers, primarily elderly or disabled clients who had less ability to monitor their accounts.
Brian Davie, 44, of Battle Ground, used unauthorized cash withdrawals, money transfers, and cashier’s checks to embezzle nearly $1.28 million from the accounts of eight identified victims, said Tessa M. Gorman, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington.
Federal authorities said Davie worked for the Wells Fargo Bank branch in Battle Ground from March 2014 until he was fired in June 2019. According to court documents, Davie used his position as branch manager to access customer files and hid his criminal activity by repeatedly exchanging cashier’s checks until they were small enough to cash without triggering reporting requirements.
One woman had more than $566,000 stolen from her retirement accounts, Gorman said in a press release.
Wells Fargo reimbursed the victims for their embezzled funds and the bank assisted the FBI in the investigation.
Davie reportedly stole from elderly customers – some of his victims had dementia or spoke limited English and did not understand banking transactions. In at least one case, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Davie did not file paperwork to place a victim’s relative as a co-signer on an account which prevented the family member from monitoring and detecting the fraudulent transactions.
While he withdrew much of the embezzled funds as cash, authorities said Davie also laundered some of the money by creating an account in the name of a relative’s business and making cashier’s checks payable to the relative or the account.
During Thursday’s appearance in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, Davie pled guilty to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 2 by U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin H. Settle. Prosecutors have recommended a four-year prison term. Restitution will also be determined at sentencing.
Emily Langlie, communications director for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Western Washington, on Monday said Davie has remained free from custody following a magistrate’s issuance of an appearance bond in August 2022 that imposed a number of court-ordered restrictions.
Among them, Davie was required to surrender his passport, remain within the state of Washington with his whereabouts monitored by GPS technology, surrender all firearms and dangerous weapons, and have no “hostile contact” directly or indirectly with a female family member.
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Gallery Credit: Stacker