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Teller at Mattapan bank admits she embezzled $172,551 from customer

J'Cynda Sales, a teller at the Citizens Bank branch on Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan Square, admitted yesterday that she drained a customer's account of the money over a six-month period, the US Attorney's office reports.

According to the federal "information" against her, filed in April, Sales gained the customer's account number in November of 2015, when the customer came to her window to deposit a check.

Between Nov. 28, 2015 and May 23, 2016, Sales, 22, of Dorchester, made 48 unauthorized withdrawals from the customer's account and deposited about $167,000 of it in a checking account in the name of somebody not named in the information. She and the other person then spent that money, withdrawing money from an ATM for some transactions and using a debit card for others.

Sales now faces up to 30 years in prison, a fine of $1 million and an order to make restitution, although the US Attorney's office agreed to seek penalties at the lower end of the scale because of her guilty plea. She will be sentenced on Sept. 20.

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Comments

What is Citizen's Bank liability in circumstances like this? I would expect them to be on the hook for all of it to the customer since it was their employee and their breakdown of systems, right? Although knowing big banks and specialized laws/treatment...who knows!

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that the bank is insured for this kind of loss

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Citizens is the 1 percent. They get bailed out.

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Why are there safeguards in place at the bank to prevent this from happening?

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And there is, that's how she got caught, eventually. A bank can track transactions but it doesn't flag all withdrawals/deposits real time. My question is: how stupid do you have to be to think you can get away with this for that long?

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customers should be keeping an eye on their accounts as well. How does one not notice 48 withdrawals that you have no records for?

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Perhaps it was an infrequently used account in which the owner didn't monitor closely as they rarely withdrew from it. (Retirement account, account from an inheritance, etc.) That might have been what tipped off the teller that it was prime target for the scam.

It could also have been an account established for this person (trust fund, etc) which the owner didn't regularly receive statements themselves.

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In the age of electronic banking, I bet fewer and fewer people review their statements. You don't get one in the mail and the electronic one requires a couple of extra steps to open because it's password protected. If it's from an account that usually doesn't need review because it's not likely to change (or you can't remember the 7-factor password that your password management software won't save), you just don't bother to check.

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Glad I use the branch in Lower Mills/ Milton. Although I am just waiting for my checks to run out to switch banks since apparently you CANNOT get Bank Statements sent to you in the mail by Citizens to anywhere in Mattapan. (I have tried several times, straight up the management ladder, all other Citizen's correspondence comes to my address, just not my statements. It's a head scratcher for sure).

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Checks aren't that expensive. Why would you stick with a sucky bank just to avoid throwing out some checks?

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MORE than free, which is what I want to pay for them. I write a lot of checks. Don't worry it won't be long.

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for situations like this?

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They made a Citizens arrest!

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The document doesn't say but the Mattapan customer must have been fairly wealthy and/or elderly (or a business) not to notice 48 withdrawals of $167,000 over six months. 44% of Americans can't cover a $400 emergency.

As for the poster switching banks, I've found the big banks (Citizen's, Santander etc.) to be terrible with fees. Although fewer ATM'S, the locals like Eastern and the Credit Unions are terrific. I've heard good things about Meetinghouse Bank in Lower Mills also.

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In general I prefer credit unions anyway though.

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Metro or if you're in MetroWest.. check out DCU.

Metro offers no fee checking (with direct deposit), and they reimburse you up to 20 bucks in other banks ATM fees! Plus you get rewards on your checking in December (Visa rewards), and if 5% (yes 5%, up to 3k) interest in your Rewards Savings.

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According to the federal "information" against her

Just curious - why is information in scare quotes? Are you suggesting that it's not really information, but.... broccoli?

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It's in quotes because it's kind of an odd word, at least for the majority of us who don't have daily exposure to the federal criminal system, that's all.

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Our financial services industry at the consumer level is as full of as much BS as the cable TV industry.

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she probably was friendly with an elderly bank patron who she know would not check online account. probably built a trust with victim. victim probably went to this teller every trip to bank and teller was able to confuse in some manner to take advantage?

just guessing

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Elderly people get taken advantage of in ways that just make me full of rage. The level of shitheadedness that it takes to do something like this is beyond me.

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Brookline Bank has large signs informing patrons of the signs of elder abuse and contact info if you spot it.

It's definitely a serious problem. Many elderly have lose their homes and savings due to some huckster. Tragically sad.

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Most of those scam phone calls and emails go after the elderly. An important sounding man on the phone telling you he's from Microsoft and they have detected a virus on your computer can easily scare Gramps into doing something foolish.

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elderly ... but that's just reality. Elderly are vulnerable.

Was the perp a 'shithead'? Sure. Also reality.

Banks have existed for about 600 years, at least in their European form. They've worked out increasingly effective 'loss prevention' systems -- e.g., audits and insurance. If they're going to pay 22 year olds almost minimum wage, they have to expect some theft.

This was a cost of doing business.

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