Detectives on the Treasure Coast say an elderly woman unwittingly became a bank employee's personal ATM for months.
The case involves a debit card. The victim said she never used her card. But detectives say the suspect made two cards for himself in her name and used them for months last year.
Mary Ann Schones loves angels, cats, and Valentine's Day. What the 77-year-old didn't love was getting a phone call recently from her bank with a question.
"Have you been using your account and I said no," she recalled from her St. Lucie West home.
Schones had made weekly visits to her Wells Fargo bank branch on St. Lucie West Boulevard to get her balance. There would always be money in there, but then she got charged 35 dollars for a bounced check.
Finally she went back and carefully looked at her recent bank statements. She discovered more than 8-thousand dollars in withdrawals, nearly depleting her account.
"402 dollars, 302 dollars about 5-6 times," said Schones, as she looks over the statement.
Working with bank security, detectives zeroed in on 27-year-old Marland Anderson, a bank employee. They found Anderson had made some suspicious withdrawals with a debit card linked to Schones' name at a nearby Publix.
It was Anderson, in fact, who would hand Schones her bank balances when she came in.
"He gave them to me, he didn't seem scared or nothing," said Schones with a tone of disbelief.
Detectives say while identity theft is a huge problem, this type of fraud case is deeply personal.
"This was an employee of the bank in a position of trust who knew the procedures of the bank and the victims," said Detective Wade Willnow with the Port St. Lucie Police Department.
Marland Anderson has been fired and faces at least 29 felony counts including charges of fraud and exploitation of the elderly and detectives believe there may be another 5 cases he may be involved in.
Wells Fargo statement:
"Marland Anderson no longer works for the bank and we are informed that he has been arrested by authorities. We are cooperating with local law enforcement and doing whatever we can to assist the data-gathering process that is part of the investigation relating to the arrest. We expect all of our team members to adhere to the highest possible standards of ethics and business conduct and to comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations that govern our business. In cases where it is proven that a customer has been a victim of fraud perpetrated by an employee, he/she will be fully reimbursed."