Former bank manager appears on theft charge

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A former Vancouver bank manager appeared in Clark County Superior Court Wednesday on accusations she drained $35,000 from a dead customer’s bank account and stole $12,000 from a bank vault, while another bank employee took the blame.

Pa Houa Vue, 40, faces a charge of first-degree theft at her Friday arraignment. Judge Robert Lewis held her on $5,000 bail and appointed Vancouver attorney Sean Downs to defend her.

Vue managed the Washington Federal at 13411 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. when the thefts took place in 2012.

The theft from the dead customer’s account happened on Oct. 2.

According to Gresham, Ore., police who investigated the case, Vue went to a meeting at Washington Federal’s Gresham branch, where she told bank employees she forgot to close a client’s account in Vancouver. She appeared to talk to the client over the phone and then asked employees to cash out the customer’s certificates of deposit. A $35,079.44 check was made out to Hai Lo — a variation of her husband’s name, Jai Lor.

Police said she then went to Clackamas County Bank in Gresham, where she told employees she sold a car and that Washington Federal had misspelled the name on the check. The check was deposited into a joint checking account she shares with her husband. Vue was a longtime customer, and employees didn’t think to question the transaction, police said.

While police investigated the case, they learned that in August 2012, $12,000 in cash disappeared from her bank’s vault in Vancouver. Vue blamed a teller, who was fired for “policy violations.”

Vue was fired in late 2011 from the Bank of the West in Oregon after $3,000 vanished from the bank’s vault, police said.

The U.S. Marshal’s Office arrested Vue May 24 in Boring, Ore., after trying to contact her for several months.

Vue told police that she has six children and her house had been repossessed. She said she needed the money to care for her sick father in California.

She was held in the Multnomah County Jail pending extradition to Clark County.