An 18-month scheme. Twenty phony cashier checks. $217,000 taken.
Now, former Wells Fargo manager Mark Coffino faces some other numbers: up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine if he’s convicted on an insider embezzlement charge that became public on Monday.
In a newly unsealed federal document, Coffino is charged with theft, embezzlement or misapplication by a bank officer or employee. He is described in the document as Wells’ wholesale banking relationship support manager.
The filing by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny Sugar alleges that Coffino started writing bogus checks to himself in May 2015. By the time his scheme was discovered, he had issued 20 of the checks, all made payable to his personal accounts with Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and American Express, the document alleges.
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Throughout much of 2016, Coffino’s illegal withdrawals became monthly. His largest single take: $48,660 in November 2016, the next-to-last month of his scheme, Sugar says. The smallest: just under $7,000 in April 2106.
According to Sugar, a financial fraud specialist for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, Coffino used his bank’s operating expense ledger account numbers to hide where the money was coming from.
Coffino, the document alleges, would lie to his direct reports to get the cashier checks approved and then mail them to a Wells Fargo processing center in Oregon.
The document in which the allegations are included is known as a bill of information. Those documents typically are used instead of a grand jury indictment in cases where a plea agreement has been reached.
The case has been assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler and U.S. District Judge Bob Conrad.