Bank Teller Admits Stealing $185K From Homeless Man
Customer came in with trash bag filled with cash
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2017 11:54 AM CDT
In this Arpil 16, 2007, file photo, the company logo of a Wells Fargo is seen in Sunnyvale, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

(Newser) Wells Fargo is in the news again, though this time it's a rogue entity, not upper management, that's catching all the heat. Ex-bank teller Phelon Davis has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $185,000 from a bank customer over a two-year period, starting in October 2014, when the customer arrived with a trash bag filled with cash to deposit. It was then that Davis noticed the customer "had a surprisingly large balance with the bank," per a signed crime statement. What made that cash cache surprising, per the Washington Post: The customer was homeless and had long kept accounts with the bank, though some had gone dormant. Not long after that interaction, Davis set up a new account in the customer's name (as well as a linked ATM card and email that Davis controlled) and started siphoning money, per a court filing.

All told, Davis was said to have moved $177,400 into his fake account and withdrawn a total of $185,440. Per a release, Davis, 29, has pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of public property, a charge the Post notes was spurred by Davis taking at least $5,000 out of the account via ATMs in DC, then bringing the cash home to Maryland. He's accused of using the money to fund exotic Caribbean and Mexican vacations, as well as to pay down debt and cough up a home down payment. Meanwhile, the larger mystery remains: how the unnamed homeless victim came to be in possession of such a large amount of cash in the first place. "That's the million-dollar question," Davis' attorney says, adding his client "greatly regrets the decisions he made." Davis faces 10 years in prison and the payback of the entire $185,440.

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