A manager at the Bank of America on Federal Street faces federal wire-fraud and money-laundering charges for the way he allegedly embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from an investment firm with two dozen accounts at the bank.
In an affidavit unsealed today, an FBI agent says Waqas Ali of Abington chose the firm because he knew that family that owns it had been defrauded earlier but never reported that, so he figured he could get away with lifting money from its accounts.
Ali, at the time the firm's client-relationship manager at Bank of America, allegedly diverted some $1.5 million from three of the firm's accounts, but ultimately kept $600,000 for himself and returned the rest to the legitimate accounts, the affidavit states.
According to the affidavit, Ali started by opening an account for the firm on Sept. 14, 2016. He listed the firm's Texas address, but after the account was open, changed that to his work address at 100 Federal St. Over the next ten months, according to the affidavit, he ordered several transfers from the firm's real accounts to his fraudulent one, the largest for $1.3 million.
Among the things he allegedly used the money for: Paying off $144,000 worth of credit-card debt, buying $90,914 worth of stuff at the Apple Store, Saks Fifth Avenue, Burberry, Bloomingdale's, Nieman Marcus, Christian Louboutin, Tag Heuer and Best Buy and wiring $18,500 to a relative's account in Pakistan. On Dec. 27, 2016, he used $63,293 to help buy a Porsche SUV, according to the affidavit. In 2018, he then sold the SUV to another dealer for $48,900. He also used his ATM card for the bogus account to make withdrawals totaling more than $221,000, mostly from one ATM at the Bank of America building and from a Citizens Bank ATM near his home, according to the affidavit.
Ali closed the fraudulent account on July 12, 2017. In August, 2018, an employee at the firm discovered major discrepancies in its books while attempting to reconcile its accounts, the affidavit states.
On Sept. 6, 2018, Ali faced Bank of America investigators. According to the affidavit:
Ali stated to investigators that he specifically targeted the Victim Company because the Victim Family had previously been defrauded in a separate incident and never pressed charges. Ali stated he believed that even if his activity was discovered, the Victim Family and/or Victim Company would not press charges against him.
The bank fired him not long after, the affidavit states.
The US Attorney's office reports he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, plus restitution.