Thursday, August 16, 2012

Two Bank Managers Cop Guilty Pleas For Billing Homeowners In Foreclosure For 'Phantom' Fees, Then Pocketing Cash Reimbursements

In St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Virgin Islands Daily News reports:

  • Daniel Rogers [] became the second former Scotiabank manager in the span of a week to plead guilty to charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Rogers, 39, entered a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office admitting to two counts of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud and a single count of money laundering.

    The charges stem from a scheme executed between August 2009 and October 2011, when Rogers was a manager in the bank's centralized retail collection unit, which is responsible for managing foreclosed-upon properties, according to court records.

    During that time, Rogers fraudulently added charges to customers' loan and mortgage accounts for forced place insurance, legal fees and property taxes. The charges essentially are additional loans granted to bank customers to allow them to repay loan-related costs over an agreed payment period.

    The properties Rogers targeted had been foreclosed on or were close to foreclosure, so "the customers didn't pay attention to the additional costs," according to the plea agreement.

    Rogers then converted the add-on payments to his own use by cashing checks that he created, made payable to other customers of the bank. He used the bank's "endorsement waived" stamp to endorse and cash the checks.
  • In total, he took $216,000, according to the [plea] agreement. He agreed to forfeit a 2003 Acura MDX, a 1998 Toyota Tundra, interest in a Skyline Drive Village condominium, two savings accounts at Scotiabank and an unspecified T. Rowe Price investment account.
  • As [U.S. District Judge Curtis] Gomez noted in court [], the case bears striking similarities to that of Steve Gardner, an ex-Scotiabank branch manager who pleaded guilty last week in the same court to the same four charges. Gardner admitted to bilking $331,000 from the bank dating back to 2009. He told prosecutors he stole the money under the guise of paying charges on delinquent customer accounts.

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