Former VP of Md. bank admits to 6-year scheme to steal over $1.8M from customers

GavelUPDATE; 5/13/2017: Strohman has been sentenced to prison – details here.

Original story below…

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A Nottingham woman pleaded pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to wire fraud and bank embezzlement, arising from a six-year scheme to steal over $1.8 million from bank customers at the bank where she worked.

 

According to her plea agreement, from April 2010 through July 2016, Melissa Strohman, 54, was Senior Vice President at Hopkins Federal Savings Bank, which had branches in Pikesville and Highlandtown.

Strohman was responsible for managing the bank’s savings department, including overseeing deposits and Individual Retirement Accounts for every customer. In addition, as the bank’s Bank Secrecy Officer, Strohman was responsible for filing Currency Transaction Reports and Suspicious Activity Reports for any transactions that were deemed to be suspicious or potentially illegal.

Strohman admitted that she used her position of trust at the bank to cause more than 200 unauthorized transfers and withdrawals of funds from six customers’ bank accounts to pay for mortgages, credit card bills and property tax bills associated with Strohman and her family members. Three of the six victim customers were at least 80 years old, and for two of the accounts the customers were deceased.

Strohman allegedly used her supervisory override function on the bank’s electronic banking system to facilitate unauthorized transfers between the victim customers’ accounts to accounts associated with Strohman; forged the signature of one victim customer in order to complete an unauthorized transaction from that person’s bank account to an American Express account associated with Strohman; and caused unauthorized transfers of funds between the victim customers’ accounts to replace the monies Strohman stole and to conceal those thefts.

Strohman faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud, and a maximum of 30 years in prison for bank embezzlement. Her sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 12, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.

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