A former manager of a Battle Ground Wells Fargo branch has pleaded guilty to federal charges of bank fraud and identity theft.
On Oct. 12, Brian Davie, 44, of Battle Ground, entered his plea on the charges in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma. He is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 2, 2024.
As a manager for Wells Fargo’s Battle Ground branch, Davie used his position to access customer files on bank balances and conducted unauthorized transactions, a release from the district court stated. He stole more than $1 million from eight elderly and vulnerable customers, including one who had more than $566,000 stolen from retirement accounts.
Davie worked for Wells Fargo in Battle Ground from March of 2014 until he was fired in June 2019, according to the release. He hid his criminal activity by manipulating cashier’s checks until they were small enough to cash without triggering reporting requirements, according to the press release.
Davie flew under the radar because he stole from elderly customers who could be less likely to keep track of their account balances, the release stated.
“Some of Davie’s victims had dementia or had limited English skills and did not understand banking transactions,” the release stated.
In one case, Davie didn’t file paperwork to put a victim’s relative as co-signer on accounts, keeping them from being able to monitor what he was doing, the release stated.
To move the money, Davie put some of it in an account under the name of a relative’s business, according to the release. Much of the money was withdrawn as cash.
Wells Fargo began an internal investigation in April 2019, according to the federal complaint against Davie. The complaint states Davie was fired for making customer transactions without their presence and identification, accessing customer accounts with no business reason and operating a cash drawer without authority.
The bank reported its findings to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that July, the complaint stated.
In January of 2022, an FBI agent interviewed Davie at his home. Davie reportedly told the agent he had no knowledge about the unauthorized transactions he allegedly conducted, the complaint stated. After the interview, Davie allegedly sent a text message to his teenage daughter and confronted her on how the agency knew where he lived, the complaint stated. In April, Davie’s ex-wife told the agent Davie had texted their daughter he was going to leave the country after he received a target letter from the FBI earlier that month
In total, Davie embezzled S1,279,840 from his victims, according to the release. Wells Fargo reimbursed victims for their losses. Davie’s restitution will be determined at sentencing.
Prosecutors are recommending a four-year prison sentence, the release stated.