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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Monday, May 15, 2017

Three Indicted in $2.7 Million Bank Fraud Scheme

Former Senior VP at Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management Division and Husband Arrested and Charged

BOSTON – A Rockland couple has been arrested and charged today with engaging in a scheme to embezzle more than $2.7 million from Bank of America using fraudulent donations to non-profit organizations. A third person, who was previously charged in a criminal complaint, was also charged in the indictment unsealed today.


Palestine Ace, aka Pam Ace, 45, a former Senior Vice President of Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management Division; her husband, Jonathan R. Ace, 46; and Brianna Alexis Forde, 35, of Boston, were each indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. In addition, Palestine Ace was also indicted on 12 counts of bank fraud and four counts of wire fraud; Jonathan Ace was also charged with two counts of wire fraud and one engaging in an unlawful monetary transaction; and Forde was also indicted on two counts of wire fraud.


According to the indictment, from approximately October 2010 to April 2015, the defendants 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 Act allegedly authorized 75 transactions, each under $50,000, to non-profit organizations in Boston and Atlanta. Then, the defendants, either directly or indirectly, informed the non-profit organizations that a substantial portion of the donated funds must 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 Forde, or they returned funds to a Bank of America account, to which the defendants 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.


The indictment also alleges that 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.


Acting United States Attorney William B. Weinreb; 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 Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil J. Gallagher of Weinreb’s Economic Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.


The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Financial Fraud
Updated May 15, 2017