2 embezzlement lawsuits are filed against ex-banker

By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff
Posted March 19, 2010, at 8:09 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Two civil lawsuits have been filed against a Warren woman accusing her of embezzling more than $800,000 from Camden National Corp. and Maine Contractors and Builders Alliance Inc. The lawsuits, parts of which were unsealed recently, allege that the woman took the money over the course of a two-year period ending in October 2009.

Court documents detailed how Christina Torres-York allegedly took money from the bank for which she worked and from the nonprofit organization for which she volunteered as a treasurer.

No criminal charges have been filed against her. The FBI is investigating the allegations, said spokesman Michael McNamara of the FBI’s Boston office on Friday. He declined to discuss details of the investigation. Torres-York worked as a loan officer at Camden National Bank in Waldoboro and had access to customers’ lines of credit, according to the complaint the bank filed against the ex-employee. The company alleges that Torres-York made $749,402 in unauthorized withdrawals from five customers’ lines of credit in the span of at least two years — from 2007 to October 2009.

When customers complained about the withdrawals, Torres-York would tell them that “the unauthorized withdrawal was a mistake that would be remedied by the bank,” the documents state.

The documents show that Torres-York transferred the money she allegedly took from the customers’ lines of credit to at least eight people, including herself.

“Because Torres-York disbursed the funds, a demand that she repay the funds would be useless,” Camden National Corp.’s complaint stated. The complaint was filed on Nov. 24, 2009, in 6th District Court in Rockland.“At this point, Defendant Torres-York has, quite literally, very little left to lose,” the company complaint stated.

Torres-York was fired from the bank around Oct. 16, 2006 — immediately after the bank’s findings — according to the affidavit of Danny Swindler, the company’s vice president.

Three days later, on Oct. 19, an employee found a letter of confession in a night depository box that Torres-York allegedly wrote, according to Swindler’s affidavit. That letter has been redacted from the court documents.

“In the letter, Defendant Torres-York confessed that she ‘used several lines of credit’ and that she was ‘terribly sorry for the embarrassment [she] caused for Camden National Bank and [her] family,’” Swindler wrote in his affidavit.

According to Swindler, the letter said, “please take this from my 401(k) so that everything is even,” and, “I’m so sorry it became a mess. I will not be in at 8, as I can not hold up my head any longer, ashamed at what has happened and what I have done to so many people that trusted me.”

Torres-York could not be reached for comment and had not filed a response to the complaints.

Knox County Court clerks could not state why the documents were unsealed and why some parts of the documents were still sealed. Some statements in the documents signify that the documents might have been sealed so Torres-York would not find out about the lawsuit.“There is a clear danger that if notified, she will abscond with any disbursement,” stated one heavily censored document.

The civil lawsuit cites charges of: fraud and breach of trust, conversion, embezzlement-theft, unjust enrichment and restitution.

Camden National refused to comment while the suit is pending.

The second lawsuit was filed against Torres-York in Knox County Superior Court on Jan. 21, 2010, after law enforcement officials told a local nonprofit about Torres-York’s alleged actions against the bank.

At that time — late October 2009 — Torres-York was the volunteer treasurer for The Maine Contractors and Builders Alliance, Inc., according to an affidavit filed by the organization’s president.

The nonprofit investigated and alleged that Torres-York took $82,940 from Jan. 1 to Nov. 13, 2009.

“After MCBA learned of the misappropriation of funds at Camden National Bank, the nonprofit corporation obtained certain of its financial records from Ms. Torres-York, and discovered that money was missing from the Camden National Bank and Bangor Savings Bank accounts, and money had been withdrawn on the Bangor Savings Bank line of credit,” the president of Maine Contractors and Builders Alliance Inc., Charles Huntington, wrote in his affidavit.

The nonprofit asked her to resign and she did.

The Maine Contractors and Builders Alliance cited charges of: conversion, unjust enrichment, restitution, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and punitive damages.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/03/19/news/2-embezzlement-lawsuits-are-filed-against-exbanker/ printed on October 1, 2014