Former Wachovia Employee Steals $14m To Buy Helicopter & Other Goodies


The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia issued an interesting press release last week.

Here's the best bits:

'ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Linda Speaks Tribby, 42, of Lovettsville, Va., a former business relationship manager of Wachovia Bank, now a part of Wells Fargo Bank, pleaded guilty today to stealing $14.1m from clients of Wachovia Bank.

Tribby pleaded guilty today to one count of bank fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when she is sentenced on June 3, 2011.

According to court documents, Tribby had been an employee of Wachovia Bank and its predecessors for more than 25 years and eventually held a position as a business relationship manager.  Her job duties were to develop, acquire and maintain small business account relationships for the bank for clients in Loudoun County and other communities.

Tribby admitted in court that from in or about December 2003 through in or about January 2011, she falsely represented to certain customers that Wachovia Bank offered a wealth management account product for which an account holder could earn tax-free interest - even though she knew that the bank did not offer such a product.

When the customers expressed their interest in opening wealth management accounts that would earn tax-free interest, Tribby falsely represented to them that the accounts had been created on their behalf.  However, these wealth management accounts did not exist.  When the customers subsequently instructed her to transfer a certain amount of funds from their bank accounts to what they believed to be their wealth management accounts, Tribby made unauthorized transfers from the customers' bank accounts to the bank accounts that were controlled by either her or those associated with her for personal use.

To avoid detection of her scheme by the bank and the customers, Tribby fabricated balance statements for the non-existing wealth management accounts on a computer and sent them to her customers on a periodic basis.

She also made periodic interest payments to the customers' bank accounts to lead them to believe that their wealth management accounts were legitimate.

As a result, Tribby obtained by fraud a total of at least $14,169,878.04 for personal use.  Using the proceeds of the crime, Tribby purchased, among other things, a house in West Virginia, approximately 200 acres of land in New York on which she built a hunting cabin, a lake house in New York, approximately 100 acres of land in Nevada, several automobiles, a luxury motor home, and a helicopter'.

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