Couple Pleads Guilty to $2.7 Million Bank Fraud Scheme
BOSTON – A Rockland couple pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to engaging in a scheme to embezzle more than $2.7 million from Bank of America using fraudulent donations to non-profit organizations.
Palestine Ace, a/k/a Pam Ace, 45, a former Senior Vice President of Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management Division pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and 12 counts of bank fraud. Her husband, Jonathan R. Ace, 46, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and one count of engaging in an unlawful monetary transaction. U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs scheduled sentencing for Palestine Ace for May 16, 2018, and May 17, 2018, for Jonathan Ace.
From approximately October 2010 to April 2015, the couple engaged in an embezzlement and kickback scheme to defraud Bank of America of approximately $2.7 million using fraudulent donations to non-profit organizations. As part of the scheme, Palestine Ace used her position as a Senior Vice President at Bank of America to misappropriate funds from a marketing budget and transfer the money to non-profit organizations. Specifically, Palestine Ace authorized 75 transactions, each under $50,000, to non-profit organizations in Boston and Atlanta. Then, the couple, either directly or indirectly, informed the non-profit organizations that a substantial portion of the donated funds had to be returned in order to ensure that Bank of America would continue to fund the organization. The non-profit organizations either wrote a check to Jonathan Ace or a co-conspirator, or they returned funds to a Bank of America account, to which the couple had access. On various occasions, Jonathan Ace pressured the recipients of the donated funds to return a higher percentage of the funds to him, by using intimidation and threats of public humiliation.
Palestine and Jonathan Ace used a portion of the funds they embezzled from Bank of America to support their lifestyle and pay for personal expenses, including lavish birthday parties and the purchase of a $17,000 Kawasaki motorcycle.
The charges of wire fraud and bank fraud each provide for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of unlawful monetary transaction provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, two years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans; Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Raymond Moss, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil J. Gallagher of Lelling’s Economic Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.