The FBI has arrested four people and is seeking a fifth in connection with an elaborate scheme in which forged documents defrauded an Ellicott City bank of $120,000, authorities said.
Investigators said the money was withdrawn in bank checks during five days in early March, when five people went to the Commercial and Farmers Bank of Ellicott City and posed as savings account holders.
At each visit, a person asked to withdraw money from an account and requested payment in a treasurer's bank check, the FBI's Jim Dearborn said.
The withdrawals were granted after the person provided personal information about the account and showed two pieces
of identification, Dearborn said.
"They were pretty organized, in that they not only had confidential information about the account, but alsohad the fake IDs," Dearborn said.
"We're still investigating where the IDs came from."
He said none of the suspects worked in the banking field. Two of the suspects have been charged in a similar scheme in Baltimore.
Several checks "in the $30,000 to $35,000 range" were issued from two personal accounts at Commercial and Farmers Bank, Dearborn said. The checks were later cashed.
Shortly after the money was withdrawn, the legitimate account holders noticed the discrepancies in their bank statements, authorities said. Both notified thebank.
Bank officials went through each account transaction, and FBI investigators replayed videotapes from the bank's surveillance cameras to identify the suspects, Dearborn said.
Bank officials couldnot be reached for comment.
Arrested Wednesday at his home was Wallace Jerome Moore, 64, of the 1900 block of West Fayette Street in Baltimore. The FBI also charged three other Baltimore residents:
Karen Barnes, 30, of the 1800 block of Hollins Street, arrested Monday.
Barbara Brown, 40, of the 900 block of Brooks Lane, arrested June7.
Ernest Edward Simpson, 50, also of the 900 block of Brooks Lane, arrested March 3.
All four were charged with federal bank fraud, a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.They are out of jail on personal recognizance.
A fifth person believed to have been involved in the scheme is also being sought, authorities said.
Brown and Simpson have been accused of committing a similar fraud scheme recently at a Household Bank in Baltimore, in which approximately $9,000 was taken, FBI officials said.
FBI officials would not give detailed information on the suspects or whether they believe other banks may have been defrauded by the same people.