Former Personal Banker Pleads Guilty in Bank Fraud Case, Admits Sharing Personal Information of Account-Holders

LeRoy Brown, a former personal banker from Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to conspiracy to commit bank fraud for his role in an identity theft scheme involving $121,400 in forged checks, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.

Brown, 32, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable John D. Bates scheduled sentencing for Jan. 17, 2013. As part of his plea agreement, Brown agreed to pay $72,800 in restitution to Wells Fargo Bank, covering the bank’s losses. Brown faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison and financial penalties.

According to a statement of offense, signed by the defendant as well as the government, Brown and others participated in the scheme from November 2009 until January 2010, conspiring to steal funds from the accounts of customers of Wachovia Bank, now operating as Wells Fargo Bank. Brown began participating in the scheme after he was approached by another person at the bank branch where he worked, in the 1900 block of Seventh Street NW.

The person offered to pay Brown for providing the type of customer information that would be needed to fraudulently obtain funds from customer accounts with balances of at least $15,000. Brown subsequently obtained this information concerning the accounts of seven customers, including their dates of births, addresses, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers. Brown turned over the information and received $2,000 in cash.

Various members of the conspiracy obtained $72,800 and attempted to obtain another $48,600 by forging checks drawn on five of the accounts targeted by Brown. When he was confronted by bank investigators in January 2010, and later when he was arrested in February 2010, Brown admitted that he had illegally accessed the accounts of bank customers, and had provided personal and account information in exchange for money.

In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the efforts of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. He also praised those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Diane Hayes and Lenisse Edloe, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Graves, who is prosecuting the matter.

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