Former Vancouver bank manager pleads guilty

Woman admits she stole $12,000 from Washington Federal vault

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A former Vancouver bank manager was sentenced Thursday to 60 days in jail for stealing $12,000 from a vault at Washington Federal in Vancouver.

In an agreement with prosecutors, Pa Houa Vue, 41, of Boring, Ore., pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to a reduced charge of second-degree theft. She was originally charged with first-degree theft. She will not have to go back to jail, as she already served her time while being extradited from Oregon to Washington, said her attorney, Sean Downs.

“I want to use this opportunity to do the right thing,” she said Thursday.

She was accused of draining $35,000 from a dead customer’s bank account and stealing $12,000 from a bank vault, while another bank employee took the blame.

Vue managed the Washington Federal branch 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, 2012.

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.

Vue was convicted in September in Multnomah County of aggravated identity theft, identity theft and first-degree aggravated theft in connection to the theft from the dead customer’s bank account.

While police investigated that 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.

She was convicted of the Oregon theft while her case was pending in Clark County.

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.

In addition to the jail time, Judge Robert Lewis prohibited Vue from future banking practices and ordered her to pay $12,000 in restitution.