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Baltimore Resident Indicted for Obtaining More than $850,000 in Wire Transfer Scheme

The White Collar Crime Prof Blog recently referenced a post on the press blog of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland reporting the indictment of a Baltimore resident, Bryn Phillips, for allegedly engaging in bank, mail, and wire fraud schemes that allowed her to illegally obtain more than $850,000 in money, products, and services by defrauding her employer, Old Mutual Financial Network ("OMFN") and federally insured banks.

The indictment alleges that Phillips falsely represented to Wachovia Bank that OMFN gave her authority to cause the issuance of wires transferring monies from OMFN accounts at Wachovia Bank to Wachovia Bank and MECU accounts controlled by Phillips. She allegedly caused checks to be drawn against OMFN’s account at Wachovia Bank that were payable to entities controlled by Phillips, and/or her relatives and associates, and allegedly withdrew and wired monies from OMFN accounts which OMFN had intended to be used as payment for OMFN business expenses, to Wachovia accounts under Phillips’s control.

Phillips also allegedly used names and passwords of employees under her supervision to execute wire transfers from OMFN corporate accounts into accounts she controlled.

The indictment also alleges a second fraud scheme. OMFN issued Phillips a corporate credit card for business expenses of OMFN. Phillips allegedly initially submitted reimbursement requests to other OMFN employees and later reviewed and authorized payments for the corporate credit card herself.

The indictment further alleges that from September 2003 to January 20, 2005, Phillips made a number of unauthorized purchases and obtained a variety of products, services and trips through the unauthorized use of OMFN corporate credit cards including services and lodging at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada; personal property including two Louis Vuitton handbags, a $4,095 pink mink jacket with fox trim, and jewelry; home improvements; and professional basketball tickets. She allegedly submitted fake credit card statements to OMFN causing her to obtain more than $150,000 from OMFN in improper reimbursements. The indictment seeks a forfeiture of $862,747.48.

The White Collar Crime Prof Blog rightly questions here how Phillips - clearly not a senior executive of the bank - could have gotten away with her alleged scheme for so long without detection by internal auditors at OMFN - a $22 billion (assets) insurance holding company.

See the U.S. Attorney, District of Maryland, press blog here.

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