JP Morgan Chase employees indicted for allegedly stealing $400,000 from elderly victims’ bank accounts
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton and Social Security Administration Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Ryan, announced Monday that two personal bankers employed by J.P. Morgan Chase and two other defendants have been arraigned on an indictment in which they are charged with conspiracy and other charges for allegedly stealing approximately $400,000 from the bank accounts of 15 senior citizens and deceased account holders, who were Chase customers.
“These defendants, including two who served as personal bankers, are charged with pilfering the accounts of elderly customers. They will all now be held accountable for their shameful scheme to defraud,” Thompson said.
The DA identified the defendants as Jonathan Francis, 27, of 75 Martense St. in Flatbush and Dion Allison, 30, of 146 LaRose Circle in Marietta, Georgia. They were both employed as personal bankers at J.P. Morgan Chase’s Restoration Plaza branch at 1380 Fulton St. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Also charged are Kery Phillips, 40, of 135 Clarkson Ave. and Gregory Desrameaux, 24, of 184 Clarkson Ave., both in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, who were not employed by Chase.
All of the defendants are named in a four-count indictment in which they are charged with fourth-degree conspiracy, second- and third-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records. Allison was arrested Monday and arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen. He was ordered held on bail of $25,000 bond or $15,000 cash and to return to court on Feb. 10, 2016. Francis and Desrameaux were arraigned earlier this month before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. Bail was set at $25,000 bond or $15,000 cash for Francis and Desrameaux was released without bail. They were also ordered to return to court on Feb. 10. Phillips is still being sought by police. The defendants each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
“We have been working closely with the authorities and the Social Security Administration since notifying them about this incident,” said Chase spokeswoman Lauren Ryan. “We will continue to do so to ensure that the funds are reimbursed to our customers or their estates or returned to the government as appropriate.”
The DA said that according to the indictment, between August 2012 and October 2013 the defendants Francis and Allison, using their authority as Personal Bankers to access accounts electronically, searched Chase databases for accounts that belonged to elderly Chase clients, had high balances and were dormant, except for regular direct deposits from the Social Security Administration. Some of these account holders were deceased.
Francis and Allison allegedly identified 15 such accounts, and without permission or authority from either Chase or the account holders withdrew money from those accounts.
Phillips and Desrameaux allegedly conspired with Francis and Allison to steal money from the accounts. Specifically, Francis and Allison issued Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) cards for the defrauded accounts and the defendants and others used the ATM cards to systematically withdraw money. The defendants allegedly made withdrawals of between $200 and $2,000 (the maximum ATM withdrawal permitted each day) at regular intervals and alternated between several Chase branch ATMs. The defendants used ATM cards for more than one compromised account at the same ATM, and they made withdrawals from each account within seconds.
For example, during April 2013, the defendants allegedly made 42 withdrawals totaling $39,800 from four different victim accounts at four different Chase ATM locations in Brooklyn. The defendants allegedly made a total of 355 ATM withdrawals totaling nearly $298,000 from the 15 compromised accounts during the course of the investigation.
Furthermore, it is alleged that the defendants additionally conspired to steal money from Chase accounts by submitting false and fraudulent Durable Power of Attorney documents, which gave them control of the accounts. The defendants allegedly used the documents to withdraw amounts of up to $9,500 from teller stations. They allegedly made a total of 21 withdrawals in this manner, taking approximately $100,000 from four different accounts.
Bratton said, “As alleged, these individuals preyed upon the elderly and deceased. Not only did they raid their victims’ savings, they also failed to conceal their deceitful tracks. I commend the investigators and prosecutors involved in this case, whose work ended this fraudulent scheme and resulted in these arrests.”
The case was investigated by NYPD Detective Adrienne Jones of the Brooklyn DA’s Squad, under the supervision of Sgt. Dominick Longo, Capt. Dawit Fikru and Special Agent Angel Rodriguez, of the Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration, under the supervision of Assistant Special Agent in Charge John Grasso.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant DA Adam Zion of the DA’s Cybercrimes Unit, of the Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant DA Dana Roth, deputy bureau chief, and Assistant DA Felice Sontupe, bureau chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant DA William E. Schaeffer, chief of the DA’s Investigations Division.
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