Former VP of Md. bank sentenced to 3 years in prison

Arrested HandcuffsA Nottingham woman was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday in connection with wire fraud and bank embezzlement charges.

U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Melissa Strohman, 54, to three years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for a six-year scheme to steal over $1.8 million from bank customers at Hopkins Federal Savings Bank, where she worked as the Senior Vice President and Bank Secrecy Act Officer. Judge Bennett also ordered Strohman to pay restitution in the amount of $1,611,108.73.

According to her plea agreement, from April 2010 through July 2016, Strohman as the Senior Vice President at Hopkins Federal, which had branches in Pikesville and Highlandtown, was responsible for managing the bank’s savings department, including overseeing deposits and Individual Retirement Accounts for customers. As the bank’s Bank Secrecy Officer, Strohman was also 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 victims were at least 80 years old, and for two of the accounts the customers were deceased.

In one instance, Strohman 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 money Strohman stole and to conceal the thefts.

Strohman had pleaded guilty to the charges back in January.

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