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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Feb. 29, 2024

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Ex-Battle Ground bank manager pleads guilty to stealing more than $1.2 million from customers

By , Columbian staff reporter

A former Battle Ground bank manager pleaded guilty Thursday to federal bank fraud and aggravated identity theft charges for stealing more than $1.2 million from customers.

Brian Davie, 44, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 2 in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of four years in federal prison. In addition to the sentence, the judge will also determine the amount of restitution, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

The Department of Justice said that while Davie was a branch manager at Wells Fargo, he made unauthorized cash withdrawals and money transfers and forged cashier’s checks. Investigators have identified eight victims, including one woman who had more than $566,000 stolen from her retirement accounts, the news release states.

Davie worked at the Battle Ground bank from March 2014 until he was fired in June 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He used his access to customer files to forge signatures on cashier’s checks, withdrawal slips and other bank forms, the criminal complaint states. Investigators say he then repeatedly exchanged cashier’s checks until they were small enough to cash without triggering banking reporting requirements.

Prosecutors say Davie continued to steal undetected because he targeted elderly customers who were less likely to check their accounts often. Some of the people he stole from had dementia or limited English skills, according to the news release. He also failed to file the paperwork making one of the victim’s relatives a co-signer on their accounts, which prevented the relative from accessing the victim’s accounts to see the fraud.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Davie deposited some of the stolen money in an account he created in the name of a relative’s business and made checks payable to that relative or business. Much of the money was withdrawn as cash, according to the news release.

Wells Fargo reimbursed the victims for their loss, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.