Prosecutors in New York have said that two men who worked at a Chase bank branch in Brooklyn stole in excess of $400,000 over a two-year period from account holders. The men are said to have carefully selected inactive accounts that had high balances and regular automatic Social Security Administration deposits. Many of the 15 accounts described by prosecutors were held by elderly individuals, and eight of the account holders were deceased.
According to the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, the two men, who are said to have been working with two accomplices, used fabricated powers of attorney to have debit cards issued for the accounts in question. These cards are then said to have been used to withdraw funds from the accounts at ATM machines in Brooklyn and other parts of New York City. The four men are facing a raft of charges including falsifying business records, grand larceny and conspiracy. One of the men was reported as being still at large and sought by police.
A Chase representative said that the bank reported the men to authorities after noticing suspicious behavior. The representative also said that Chase had worked closely with both the Social Security Administration and the police during the subsequent investigation. The SSA said that the accounts held by deceased individuals were still receiving regular deposits due to reporting errors.
Those accused of committing embezzlement or similar white-collar crimes may face severe sanctions, but prosecutors must often overcome significant challenges in order to secure a conviction. These cases can be highly complex and command the allocation of significant resources, and criminal defense attorneys may seek to reduce the severity of the penalties involved by urging overworked prosecutors to accept a plea agreement in exchange for a swift conclusion.