Former Battle Ground, Washington, bank branch manager charged with stealing over $1 million from elderly customers

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Seattle – A 43-year-old former bank manager from Battle Ground, Washington, was arrested Friday in Yakima, Washington, on charges of Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identify Theft, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Brian Davie, a former branch manager at Wells Fargo, allegedly used unauthorized cash withdrawals, money transfers, and cashier’s checks to steal over $1 million.  Davie allegedly targeted elderly and vulnerable customers. Eight victims have been identified. One woman had more than $546,000 stolen from her retirement accounts. Davie will appear in U.S. District Court in Yakima at 1:30 today.

Davie worked for Wells Fargo in Battle Ground from March of 2014 until he was fired in June 2019. According to the criminal complaint, Davie used his position as a manager at the branch to conduct unauthorized transactions. Davie had access to customer files containing information about bank account balances, as well as examples of customer signatures. Davie allegedly used this knowledge to forge signatures on cashier’s checks, withdrawal slips and other bank forms. Davie allegedly hid his criminal activity by repeatedly exchanging cashier’s checks until they were small enough to cash without triggering banking reporting requirements.

The complaint alleges that Davie continued undetected because he stole from  elderly customers who might be less likely to closely monitor their account balances. Some of Davie’s victims had dementia, or had limited English skills and did not understand banking transactions. In at least one case, Davie failed to file the paperwork to install a victim’s relative as a co-signer on the victim’s accounts.  That failure prevented the relative from being able to monitor the account and detect the fraudulent transactions.

Davie deposited some of the stolen money in an account he created in the name of a relative’s business. He made some of the cashier’s checks payable to that relative or to the business account he created. Much of the money was withdrawn as cash.

Wells Fargo reimbursed victims for their losses.

The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations.  A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with assistance from the Wells Fargo investigation team.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Dillon.

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