Former Vice President of Maryland Bank Admits to Six-Year Scheme to Steal Over $1.8 Million from Bank Customers
Baltimore, Maryland – Melissa Strohman, age 54, of Nottingham, Maryland, pleaded guilty in federal court today to wire fraud and bank embezzlement, arising from a six-year scheme to steal over $1.8 million from bank customers at the bank where she worked.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Patti Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge, New York Region, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Office of Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.
According to her plea agreement, from April 2010 through July 2016, Strohman was Senior Vice President at a federal savings bank in Maryland, which had branches in Pikesville and Highlandtown. Strohman was responsible for managing the bank’s savings department, including overseeing deposits and Individual Retirement Accounts for every customer. In addition, as the bank’s Bank Secrecy Officer, Strohman was responsible for filing Currency Transaction Reports and Suspicious Activity Reports for any transactions that were deemed to be suspicious or potentially illegal.
Strohman admitted that she used her position of trust at the bank to cause more than 200 unauthorized transfers and withdrawals of funds from six customers’ bank accounts to pay for mortgages, credit card bills and property tax bills associated with Strohman and her family members. Three of the six victim customers were at least 80 years old, and for two of the accounts the customers were deceased.
For example, Strohman used her supervisory override function on the bank’s electronic banking system to facilitate unauthorized transfers between the victim customers’ accounts to accounts associated with Strohman; forged the signature of one victim customer in order to complete an unauthorized transaction from that person’s bank account to an American Express account associated with Strohman; and caused unauthorized transfers of funds between the victim customers’ accounts to replace the monies Strohman stole and to conceal those thefts.
Strohman faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud, and a maximum of 30 years in prison for bank embezzlement. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for Strohman on May 12, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FDIC Office of Inspector General and FBI for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Phil Selden and Evan Shea, who are prosecuting the case.