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Bank manager stole more than $1M

By Claes Bell · Bankrate.com
Monday, June 3, 2013
Posted: 10 am ET

There's no doubt that bank employees are in a position of trust. Customers walk in every day and hand them money, confident it will be in their bank account when they need it. To do their jobs, high-level bank employees have access to lots of sensitive consumer information and even cash, so when an employee turns to crime, things can go downhill fast.

That's exactly what's alleged to have happened at not one, but two banks in Oakland, Calif., where a former banker is accused of having stolen more than $1 million from customers at US Bank and First Republic Bank, according to reports by The Oakland Tribune and KTVU.

Linda Foss, who worked at US Bank from 1983 to 2012, most recently as a branch manager, is accused of siphoning off money directly from one customer's certificate of deposit, or CD, account, reducing the balance from $972,000 to $353,000. Another former client said Foss had forged her signature on checks worth more than $40,000.

Foss was later terminated by US Bank, but quickly got another job at First Republic Bank. From there, Foss allegedly tried to cover her tracks by stealing from other customers to replace the stolen funds, including $164,000 from first one, then another elderly client at First Republic.

Eventually, authorities caught up to Foss, who will face trial on money laundering, theft from an elder adult and grand theft charges.

Beyond the consequences for Foss's clients and her community, the incident does raise some serious questions for bank customers in general. Foss was terminated by US Bank in March of this year, according to the report. Did they know or suspect something was wrong, and if so, how was she hired to be a branch manager at another bank? And how was a bank employee allowed to siphon more than $600,000 from an account without attracting immediate scrutiny?

It seems inevitable that unscrupulous bank employees will find ways to bilk customers, but banks owe it to customers to do their utmost to keep a close eye on account-holder funds and prevent crime wherever they can, and to make customers whole when they fail.

What do you think? Do you ever worry about fraud at your bank?

Follow me on Twitter: @ClaesBell.

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52 Comments
kenward42
July 29, 2013 at 11:14 pm

I served for many years as a community bank president, not as simply a puppet, branch manager of a branch of a large corporate bank. People are usually much better off banking with a smaller community bank that with one of the large banks with branches from coast to coast.

Jeff Spahn
July 29, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Diane - So you basically put your money under your mattress and keep it safe there. Sure hope your house doesn't burn down or you don't get robbed. Then again, based on your short comment, you probably either live in a trailer, rent or don't have insurance so you'll lose everything or very little when the terrible happens. Sorry you are so cynical.

elysummers
July 29, 2013 at 10:43 am

I'm with @DianeMaloney on this. I do the same thing. Are women smarter, more cautious? IDK. But I do know that I have been able to save a lot more money when what I spend is cold hard cash rather than a stupid debit or credit card.

Robert Nagel
July 28, 2013 at 9:20 pm

The VP was stealing from the bank, not the customers. The bank will be required to make good any funds stolen.

mike
July 28, 2013 at 7:12 pm

There are three things I have learned in the past 40 years.

1) Bankers and lawyers are idiots

2) Bankers and lawyers are NOTORIOUSLY bad businesmen

3) Bankers and lawyers are crooks

josiah p
July 24, 2013 at 11:24 pm

As a retired banker for 35 years, I think the only way this 600m theft could have been accomplished is for the employee to have forged a withdrawal slip and continued to pay the interest on the stolen amount so that the CD holder would not be suspect.

DianeMaloney
July 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Banks rip off customers all of the time (over draft charges, high interest on credit cards) so when of those fat-piggy bank managers steal money, the freakin' banks can afford to cover the customer losses.
I don't need the bank-I make my work cut me a check, then I go to the stupid bank and cash it for $5. Then I take all of the money home. If I need a check-I go to Walmart hand over some cash.
That way the IRS or bank employees can't touch a penny of my money.

Use this simple method to boycott the piggies at the bank :-)

David Shaver
July 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm

I retired from almost 35 yrs in banking, first of all there are crooks everywhere in every phase of the workforce.Apparently you have them in city gov't in Clarksburg. I worked for Clarksburg largest bank for several years, I learned along time ago, as my first day on the job, it is just dirty paper. When you keep that in mind and it is not yours you will not have a problem. All that a former employer can tell someone inquiring about anyone applying for a job is the dates that they worked there and that is all. Otherwise, they can be sued if they give more information. That is how this employee got thru the system.

Rodney Miller
July 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm

It is not just large Banks my small town Bank in Kenton, Oh had a VP who embezzled a large amount. (over a million) He was my loan officer. Needless to say I was badly burned by this Bank in part trying to recover funds they lost. The new Bank CEO is just as crooked as the embezzler.

Staci
July 08, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Don't bash the bankers, in most cases, it's the little guys on the totem pole doing the most work, with the most rules, with the smallest pay. Some banks have the motto, "Churn & Burn"; get the absolute most out of an employee (sales, time, etc), and then push them out.
I do agree that I can't believe that this manager was never found out about, REST easy - banks have SEVERAL rules and regulations they have to follow to ensure the safety of their customers. It all comes down to GREED and each person has to deal with their own evil!

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