Customer suing Rockland bank claims worker raided his accounts for at least $95,000

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted June 26, 2012, at 5:59 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — A Hope man claims that a Rockland Savings Bank FSB employee stole at least $95,000 from his accounts and took out a $68,000 loan in his name over a three-year period.

The alleged thefts coincide with a federal investigation that began last summer over the possible embezzlement of a large amount of money from Rockland Savings by an employee. In August, Rockland Savings Bank President Harry Mank Jr. said an audit was done and that the FBI was investigating the possible embezzlement, which first was detected in early July.

Mank could not be reached for comment Tuesday on whether that investigation and this lawsuit are related.

No one has been charged yet in the embezzlement probe. Mank said, however, that an employee was fired.

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Knox County Superior Court by Christopher and Tara Wellman of Hope against Rockland Savings Bank.

Christopher Wellman claims that the bank employee, a woman who was not named in the lawsuit, opened a loan account from 2008 through 2011 totaling $68,000 in Wellman’s name without his knowledge and without benefit to him. The employee used the money to her benefit, the lawsuit states.

The suit also claims that the bank employee wrote multiple checks from other Wellman accounts, such as a home equity account.

The bank employee allegedly wrote a $15,876 check from one account in June 2010 payable to the bank. Another employee of the bank then negligently assisted in converting the fraudulent check into a cashier’s check which the first employee used to buy an automobile for herself, according to the suit.

In November 2010, the suspect employee fraudulently wrote a $20,282 check from a Wellman account that again was converted to a cashier’s check at the bank to pay for another car, the suit claims.

In May 2011, the employee reportedly wrote another fraudulent check in the amount of $13,800 and again converted it to a cashier’s check at Rockland Savings. The check was made payable to Bangor Savings Bank to pay off a loan by the employee or her children, the lawsuit stated.

Yet another $2,200 check reportedly was written from a Wellman account later in May by the employee.

And the final incident occurred May 24, 2011, when the employee allegedly wrote a check for $44,203 which she had converted at Rockland Savings to a cashier check that was then paid to Beneficial Bank for the purchase of a mobile home for her or her family.

Wellman claims in his lawsuit that when he checked the status of his accounts with the bank during the three-year period, he was provided “misleading or patently false” information. He noted in the lawsuit that he had a valid signature card on file at Rockland Savings Bank but that at no time did anyone from the bank use it to verify the signatures on the fraudulent checks.

Wellman is seeking, among other things, that his credit be restored, that the bank pay compensatory and punitive damages, and payment of damages to Tara Wellman for loss of consortium resulting from the negligence of the bank.

Mank also is named as a defendant in the lawsuit in his role as president of the bank.

A telephone message was left for Mank and other bank officials but no return call has been received.

The Wellmans are represented by attorney Chad Cloutier of Rockland. Cloutier was not available for comment.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/06/26/news/midcoast/customer-suing-rockland-bank-claims-worker-raided-his-accounts-for-at-least-95000/ printed on July 31, 2014