A few months back, we reported on “card cracking” in Chicago. Well, it seems a version of this scam has been practiced in the white-collar community in recent months. The scheme involved bankers from JPMorgan Chase using 15 accounts of elderly people (at least 8 are dead) to access hundreds of thousands of dollars.
An indictment filed with the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn names Johnathan Francis, 27, and Dion Allison, 30, private bankers for a Bedford-Stuyvesant branch of JPMorgan Chase. They have been accused of creating ATM cards and forging documents to access inactive accounts. Most of the accounts belonged to individuals who are now dead, but due to fugazi reporting to the Social Security Administration, they still got benefits checks deposited. The New York Times reports:
With two friends, Gregory Desrameaux, 24, and Kery Phillips, 40, the men then withdrew most of the stolen money, about $300,000, by using A.T.M.s around New York City, according to the indictment. Some withdrawals were as small as $200; some were up to $2,000, the daily limit for A.T.M. withdrawals for some Chase accounts.
In April 2013 alone, members of the group made withdrawals on 26 of 30 days, according to the indictment. One night at a Chase branch at Nostrand and Church Avenues, they withdrew $1,000 from one account; 49 seconds later, group members took out $1,000 from a different account.
By May of that year, people in the group had created fake power of attorney documents. That gave Mr. Phillips control of four of the dormant accounts, Adam Zion, an assistant district attorney, said in court on Monday. This allowed Mr. Phillips to withdraw much more money than the daily A.T.M. limit, up to $9,500 at a time, through a teller.
In another example of the scheme, in February 2013, according to the indictment, Mr. Allison created a bank card for one account. That May, at a Chase branch on Flatbush Avenue, Mr. Phillips turned in fake power of attorney documents giving him control of the account. The same day, prosecutors said, Mr. Phillips withdrew through a teller $49,929.91 — everything that remained — from the account.
All four men have been charged with conspiracy, grand larceny and falsifying business records. Allison was arraigned on Monday and was released on $25,000 bond. Francis, who left the bank before the issue became a problem, has denied allegations. Desrameaux also denies charges. Philips is still at large.