A former bank manager pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft for embezzling more than $1 million primarily from elderly and vulnerable customers at Wells Fargo.
The 44-year-old from Battle Ground, Washington, pleaded guilty to Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Brian Davie, a former branch manager at Wells Fargo, admitted to using unauthorized cash withdrawals, money transfers, and cashier's checks to embezzle over $1 million.
Authorities said this fraudulent activity primarily targeted elderly and vulnerable clients, with eight victims identified, including one who had more than $566,000 stolen from her retirement accounts. Davie is scheduled for sentencing by U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle on January 2, 2024.
Davie's employment at Wells Fargo in Battle Ground spanned from March 2014 until his termination in June 2019. Court records reveal that Davie leveraged his position as a manager to carry out these unauthorized transactions. As a branch manager, he had access to customer files containing crucial account balance information. To conceal his criminal actions, Davie repeatedly exchanged cashier's checks until their amounts were small enough to be cashed without triggering banking reporting requirements.
Authorities said Davie went undetected for so long because he preyed on elderly customers who were less likely to closely monitor their account balances. Some of his victims suffered from dementia or had limited English skills, making it difficult for them to comprehend banking transactions. In one case, Davie failed to file the necessary paperwork to install a victim's relative as a co-signer on the victim's accounts, thereby preventing the relative from monitoring the account and detecting fraudulent transactions.
Davie channeled some of the stolen funds into an account he created in the name of a relative's business. He also made cashier's checks payable to that relative or the business account he had established. A substantial portion of the money was withdrawn as cash.
In total, Davie embezzled $1,279,840 from the accounts of his victims. Wells Fargo has since reimbursed these victims for their losses, with the final amount of restitution to be determined by Judge Settle during sentencing.
Prosecutors have recommended a four-year prison sentence, though the actual sentence will be at Judge Settle's discretion, considering various statutory factors to determine the appropriate punishment.
The FBI, with support from the Wells Fargo investigation team, conducted the investigation into this case, while Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Dillon is responsible for prosecuting it.