Bank Of America Makes It Easier For Man To Allegedly Embezzle From The City Of Seattle

Bank of America really did a former city employee a favor when they let him open and allegedly deposit checks made out to Seattle and city entities into two accounts, one in his name and another called “The City of Sea.” Close enough, right?

MyNorthwestNow.com says the man is accused of stealing $1.1 million from Seattle Public Utilities over two years, claiming he diverted customer checks for water main extension projects into a personal bank account.

“This defendant both presented the bill to customers and collected the payment. That’s a recipe for embezzlement,” said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. “It was a lot easier than one would expect to steal a million dollars from the city.”

Satterberg says he’s surprised that BofA would make it possible for him to open the account and accept checks made out to the city, and that Seattle might have grounds for civil action against the bank.

We’re just amazed they made banking easy for anyone, much less an accused embezzler.

*Thanks to Shelley for the tip!

Man steals $1M from Seattle, Bank of America sits idly by [MyNorthwest.com]

Comments

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  1. Hi_Hello says:

    wow.

  2. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    And yet how many customers had legitimate check deposits held up due to some random rule about how long the bank can hold the funds before they’re available, and then incurred overdraft fees because of it?

    This story really brings the BofA screwup stories to date to a whole new level.

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      Why is it unreasonable to withhold access to funds until the check clears?

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        I should have phrased that better. I wonder how many customers made legitimate deposits, then had their debits and credits reordered, and incurred overdraft fees, because a check might be held for 1 or 2 days, depending on the bank’s rules. But apparently BofA had no problems depositing this guy’s checks.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Random Rule? Doesn’t Regulation CC cover that?

  3. Cat says:

    Well, there’s at least one person who is a Phan of BofA.

  4. JohnDeere says:

    crooks help crooks didnt ya know… its some kind of code..

  5. Nessiah says:

    “We’re just amazed they made banking easy for anyone, much less an accused embezzler.”

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

  6. Starrion says:

    Epic incompetence thy name is Bank of America.
    From sea to shining sea, your mistakes cost dearly.
    Loved by indentity thieves, staffed with the clueless,
    BOFA stands as a shining monument to fleecing the customer.
    Whether tossing you out of your home, or deluging you with overdrafts
    Bank of America is the shining example of why you should
    BANK SOMEWHERE ELSE!

  7. longfeltwant says:

    “We’re just amazed they made banking easy for anyone, much less an accused embezzler.”

    Nice one.

  8. LightningUsagi says:

    Years ago when I worked for a probation office, we had an employee steal payments that were mailed in and deposit them into her friend’s personal bank account at BOA. The payments were made out to the company, not to her, but BOA never batted an eye.

  9. StarKillerX says:

    So my question is, since the checks were, in effect, stolen, and BOA cashed them and placed the funds into his accounts couldn’t those involved be charged with something like possession of stolent property or possibly even money laundering?

    Also since the bank deposited these checks into an account that any reasonable person would know they shouldn’t have been shouldn’t they be held liable for any missing funds?

    • finbar says:

      Nope, they’re a corporation so they don’t have to live by the rules that apply to flesh and blood types.

      • Bsamm09 says:

        So as long as you are working for a corporation, you don’t have to face charges? Do these same rules apply to only C-Corporations or are S-corps included? What about partnerships, LLCs and trusts?

        I’m pretty sure an LLC date raped my neighbor. Would pressing charges be a pointless ordeal? They may have been an LLC choosing to be taxed like an S-Corp. Does that muddy the waters?

  10. Portlandia says:

    My guess is:

    Teller sees Check payable to “The City of Seattle”

    Types in deposit and sees: “The City of Sea” and assumes ‘ttle” is just cut off from the screen (as account names are often shortened) and deposits the check.

    Pretty ingenious plan actually.

    • Conformist138 says:

      But what about the other account that was in his own name?

    • Yomiko says:

      Getting a DBA in a name that is 1) similar to the victim organization or 2) an acronym of the name of the victim organization is a very old trick.

      If I want to steal from Sunny Susie’s Cupcakes and get a DBA for SSC Corp, I can probably get the bank to deposit her checks to my account any day of the week.

  11. Sad Sam says:

    Not to defend BOA, who I hate, but so much of banking is automated that it is possible that a human being never saw these checks. If you deposit a check via ATM, especially now with the scanning, there is no person checking to see who the payee is, or double checking signatures, etc.

  12. jerry101 says:

    I just thought of something. I was writing a not very witty comment and abbreviated Bank of America “BofA”

    My kid loves that Dr Suess book “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket.”

    There’s a line in the book which now seems pretty prescient:

    “But that BOFA on the sofa, him I can do without.”

    I think that’s a sentiment we can all agree with.

  13. heart.shaped.rock says:

    “This defendant both presented the bill to customers and collected the payment. That’s a recipe for embezzlement.”

    It’s a recipe for embezzlement because it violates basic accounting rules regarding the separation of duties. The person who creates the billing should not be the same person who collects the money. You’d think a county government would know that!

    • Cor Aquilonis says:

      Yes, but then they would have to PAY two people, and what city can afford that?

    • Starrion says:

      Have you ever seen who is employed by most county governments?
      If you asked them what GAAP was they would probably mention they went to a sale there the other day.

  14. Marlin says:

    We’re just amazed they made banking easy for anyone, much less an accused embezzler.

    *Thanks to Shelley for the tip!

    Yep thansk shelley, now to go open my accounts for USA, VA, NC, MD, PA,… then cities such as Springfield, ….

    THANKS SHELLEY!!!