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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Former BBVA Compass Investments Employee Agrees to Plead Guilty to Embezzlement

BIRMINGHAM – The U.S. Attorney’s Office today charged a former BBVA Compass Investment Solutions employee with embezzling more than $200,000 from the bank, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr.

            Prosecutors filed a one-count information in U.S. District Court charging ERIC SCOTT DARTY, 30, of Birmingham, with bank embezzlement. Darty has agreed to plead guilty and signed a plea agreement. He must appear before a judge to formally enter a guilty plea.

“This office and our law enforcement partners continue to aggressively investigate financial crimes in order to protect the integrity of our nation’s financial infrastructure,” Town said. “We must hold accountable employees of financial institutions who take from a bank or its customers for personal gain.”

“Darty was a stockbroker who used the trust customers placed in him to steal for his own personal greed,” Sharp said. “I would like to express my appreciation to the Alabama Securities Commission for their assistance in this investigation and helping to bring Darty to the justice he deserves.”

According to the Plea Agreement, also filed in the district court, Darty was an employee of BBVA Compass Investment Solutions and a registered stockbroker when he began embezzling customer funds by manipulating customer cashiers’ checks that were intended to purchase insurance products.

At times between November 2015 and his termination in October 2016, Darty would renegotiate a customer’s original cashier’s check into a cashier’s check for a lesser amount. Darty would receive the left over amount as cash, typically several thousand dollars, and keep the cash for himself, rather than returning it to the customer or using it to buy the investment product on the customer’s behalf. According to the plea agreement, he would use the newly issued cashier’s check to purchase the investment product. In some circumstances, Darty renegotiated an original cashier’s check more than one time into successively smaller amounts.  On some occasions, he would move money between customer accounts to attempt to cover his embezzlement.

            Darty admits in his plea agreement that his scheme involved 47 unauthorized transactions in 13 accounts belonging to nine customers and resulted in a loss to BBVA Compass of between $150,000 and $250,000 dollars. Darty has agreed to pay restitution of $206,970 to BBVA Compass Bank and to forfeit that same amount to the government as proceeds of illegal activity. He has also agreed to restrictions on his future employment in the financial services industries.

Darty faces a potential prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million.

The FBI, in conjunction with the Alabama Securities Commission, investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Erica Williamson Barnes is prosecuting.

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Updated November 8, 2017