May 27, 2018
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Court throws out most of lawsuit against Rockland bank

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — A judge has dismissed the bulk of claims made against Rockland Savings Bank by a customer who said a company employee stole at least $95,000 from his accounts and took out a $68,000 loan in his name over a three-year period.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm issued his order last week in Knox County Superior Court in the lawsuit filed in June by Christopher and Tara Wellman of Hope.

The bank not only sought dismissal of all counts in the lawsuit but criticized the Wellmans for not naming Christopher Wellman’s sister, Shauna Quinn, as the employee who was fired by the bank after the possible theft was detected.

Justice Hjelm dismissed five of 10 counts in the Wellmans’ lawsuit against the bank — fraud and fraudulent concealment, negligent infliction of emotional distress, breach of fiduciary duty, deceptive trade practices and violation of state laws that govern financial institutions.

The Superior Court justice, however, ruled that parts of the remaining charges involving fraudulent misrepresentation remain as do the potential losses from negligent misrepresentation and negligence. The Wellmans claim in their lawsuit that the bank was negligent for failing to account for the wrongful transactions of its employee.

The Wellmans have maintained that the bank employee opened a line of credit in his name without his knowledge and without benefit to him.

The bank, however, argued in its response that the longtime employee embezzled money and used it to benefit herself and family members that included her brother Christopher Wellman.

Wellman’s lawsuit did not name the employee who he claims took money from him but the bank identified the employee as Shauna Quinn, Christopher Wellman’s sister.

Quinn has not been charged with any crime.

The case came to light in June 2011 when the bank contacted the Rockland Police Department about the possible theft of a large amount of money. In August 2011, an audit was done and the investigation was taken over by the FBI. The bank’s response in July 2012 to the civil lawsuit by the Wellmans stated that the bank anticipated federal charges would be brought against Quinn by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The bank claims in its response that when the bank discovered Quinn’s alleged misconduct in July 2011, it fired her, reported her action to proper authorities and worked with Christopher Wellman to ensure that all money was refunded to him.

“Incredibly, plaintiffs did not name Ms. Quinn as a defendant, nor is she even mentioned by name in the complaint,” the bank’s response states.

Quinn declined comment in July when her name became public in the lawsuit filings. Her attorney Walter McKee stated at the time that he had little information and was reviewing the allegations.

Telephone messages left Tuesday were not returned by the bank’s attorney Peter Detroy of Portland, the Wellman’s attorney Chad Cloutier of Rockland, and McKee. Rockland Savings Bank President Harry Mank Jr. said Tuesday he could not comment.

The civil case has not been scheduled for trial.

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