Some people have no respect…not even for the dead. According to prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, several ex JPMorgan personal bankers have been stealing from the dead. The current charges allege that two men made more than 350 ATM withdrawals (totaling over $400,000) from inactive accounts at the bank from August 2012 to October 2013, and that many of the accounts they took money from belonged to people who had already died.
More on JPMorgan bankers stealing from the dead
Two men have been charged so far in the scheme to steal from the dead. Jonathan Francis, 27, and Dion Allison, 30, have been charged with conspiracy and second-degree grand larceny. The two ex JPM bankers and their co-conspirators allegedly undertook at least fraudulent 350 ATM withdrawals from 15 in active accounts, according to a recently unsealed indictment.
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Francis and Allison took advantage of known inactive accounts, New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton noted in a statement this week. “Not only did they raid their victims’ savings, they also failed to conceal their deceitful tracks,” he explained.
Of note, Francis and a third alleged conspirator were recently arraigned. A fourth suspect, however, remains at large. Francis and Allison pleaded not guilty, according to Oren Yaniv, a spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.
The prosecutors allege the scheme targeted accounts with no activity but that saw monthly Social Security direct deposits. The pair then produced ATM cards for the accounts and withdrew money.
The idea was to deflect the blame by using the log-on IDs of co-workers when they were away from their desks. One man admitted that he knew the accounts were owned by elderly people, Assistant District Attorney Adam Zion pointed out in the statement.
Alison’s Victor Knapp said it was too early to say whether his client would be contesting the charges.
Knapp emphasized that Allison left the bank two years ago, and that the ex-personal banker “has had no criminal background whatsoever” and is a “family man.”
Douglas Rankin, a lawyer for Francis, claimed that his client is “not guilty of these charges and was not involved in any conspiracy to take any money.” He noted that Francis has resigned from the bank.
Statement from JPMorgan Chase
Spokesperson Lauren Ryan noted that JPMorgan Chase has been “working closely with the authorities and the Social Security Administration since notifying them of this incident,”
She continued to say: “We will continue to do so to ensure that the funds are reimbursed to our customers or their estates or returned to the government.”
The full press release from the Brooklyn’s DA office can be found below:
JP Morgan Chase Employees Indicted For Allegedly Stealing
$400,000 from Elderly Victims’ Bank Accounts
Personal Bankers and Two Cohorts Allegedly Used Fake Powers of Attorney, ATM Cards
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and Social Security Administration Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Ryan, today announced that two personal bankers employed by J.P. Morgan Chase and two other defendants have been arraigned on an indictment in which they are charged with conspiracy and other charges for allegedly stealing approximately $400,000 from the bank accounts of 15 senior citizens and deceased account holders, who were Chase customers.
District Attorney Thompson said, “These defendants, including two who served as personal bankers, are charged with pilfering the accounts of elderly customers. They will all now be held accountable for their shameful scheme to defraud.”
Commissioner Bratton said, “As alleged, these individuals preyed upon the elderly and deceased. Not only did they raid their victims’ savings, they also failed to conceal their deceitful tracks. I commend the investigators and prosecutors involved in this case, whose work ended this fraudulent scheme and resulted in these arrests.”
Special Agent in Charge Ryan said, “That these individuals used their position in the banking industry to steal Social Security funds is an offense against all taxpayers who contribute to Social Security and spend a lifetime working to earn these benefits. I commend our partner in this investigation, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, for their hard work. I encourage the public to report suspected Social Security fraud to the Social Security Fraud Hotline at http://oig.ssa.gov/report or (800) 269-0271.”
The District Attorney identified the defendants as Jonathan Francis, 27, of 75 Martense Street in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and Dion Allison, 30, of 146 LaRose Circle, Marietta, Georgia. They were both employed as personal bankers at J.P. Morgan Chase’s Restoration Plaza branch at 1380 Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Also charged are Kery Phillips, 40, of 135 Clarkson Avenue in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, and Gregory Desrameaux, 24, of 184 Clarkson Avenue in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, who were not employed by Chase.
All of the defendants are named in a four-count indictment in which they are charged with fourth-degree conspiracy, second- and third-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records. Allison was arrested today and arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen. He was ordered held on bail of $25,000 bond or $15,000 cash and to return to court on February 10, 2016. Francis and Desrameaux were arraigned earlier this month before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. Bail was set at $25,000 bond or $15,000 cash for Francis and Desrameaux was released without bail. They were also ordered to return to court on February 10, 2016. Phillips is still being sought by police. The defendants each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between August 2012 and October 2013, the defendants Francis and Allison, using their authority as Personal Bankers to access accounts electronically, searched Chase databases for accounts that belonged to elderly Chase clients, had high balances and were dormant, except for regular direct deposits from the Social Security Administration. Some of these account holders were deceased.
Francis and Allison allegedly identified 15 such accounts and without permission or authority from either Chase or the account holders withdrew money from those accounts.
Phillips and Desrameaux allegedly conspired with Francis and Allison to steal money from the accounts. Specifically, Francis and Allison issued Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) cards for the defrauded accounts and the defendants and others used the ATM cards to systematically withdraw money. The defendants allegedly made withdrawals of between $200 and $2,000 (the maximum ATM withdrawal permitted each day) at regular intervals and alternated between several Chase branch ATMs. The defendants used ATM cards for more than one compromised account at the same ATM, and they made withdrawals from each account within seconds.
For example, during April 2013, the defendants allegedly made 42 withdrawals totaling $39,800 from four different victim accounts at four different Chase ATM locations in Brooklyn. The defendants allegedly made a total of 355 ATM withdrawals totaling nearly $298,000 from the 15 compromised accounts during the course of the investigation.
Furthermore, it is alleged, the defendants additionally conspired to steal money from Chase accounts by submitting false and fraudulent Durable Power of Attorney documents, which gave them control of the accounts. The defendants allegedly used the documents to withdraw amounts of up to $9,500 from teller stations. They allegedly made a total of 21 withdrawals in this manner, taking approximately $100,000 from four different accounts.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Detective Adrienne Jones of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Squad, under the supervision of Sergeant Dominick Longo and Captain Dawit Fikru and Special Agent Angel Rodriguez, of the Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration, under the supervision of Assistant Special Agent in Charge John Grasso.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam Zion of the District Attorney’s Cybercrimes Unit, of the Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Dana Roth, Deputy Bureau Chief and Assistant District Attorney Felice Sontupe, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.