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Former bank employee pleads guilty to stealing over $2 million from customers

Posted by Chris Caesar  March 17, 2014 06:22 PM

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A former personal banker with Bank of America pleaded guilty in Middlesex Superior Court today to stealing more than $2.1 million from 31 investors, mostly from friends and elderly customers.

Elaina Patterson, 54, of Wilmington pleaded guilty to 15 counts of larceny over $250 from a person over sixty and 16 counts of larceny over $250.

Patterson reportedly persuaded friends and family to invest money in accounts she claimed offered high interest rates - normally between 10 and 15 percent - while working at a Bank of America branch in Reading from 1999 to 2011.

She would use that money - at one point totaling nearly $4.5 million - to fund payments to other investors and launder money into her personal accounts. At one point, Patterson stole more than $95,000 and $220,000 from two 90-year-old victim’s by forging their signatures.

Superior Court Judge Peter Lauriat sentenced Patterson to three to five years in state prison, with ten years of probation following the completion of her sentence.

Investigators ultimately uncovered just under $6 million in fraudulent transactions, with Patterson returning almost $3.8 million to investors and more than $2.1 million for herself. Patterson will also face a restitution hearing that will be scheduled at a later date.

“This defendant’s gross violation of trust negatively impacted more than 30 victims, many of whom were her friends and family, and others who were long-time and often elderly customers,” state Attorney General Martha Coakley wrote in a statement.

“Through today’s state prison sentence, she is being held accountable for her deceitful and illegal actions.”

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