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Former Battle Ground bank manager gets 3½ years for stealing $1 million-plus from customers

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: February 20, 2024, 6:23pm

A former Battle Ground bank manager was sentenced Tuesday to 3½ years in federal prison for stealing more than $1 million from customers’ accounts.

Brian Davie, 44, pleaded guilty in October in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

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

“The wake of damage in this case is large. It involved multiple victims over some time. … Our society depends on the trust of those who hold our finances,” U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said at the sentencing hearing.

Davie 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.

He 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 Much of the money was withdrawn as cash, according to the news release.

In total, Davie stole $1,279,840 from the victims. Wells Fargo reimbursed the victims for their loss, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The judge will decide the amount of restitution Davie owes at a March 18 hearing.