Man gets 2-year jail term for cashing bank's error

February 17, 2007|By Matthew Dolan | Matthew Dolan,Sun reporter

The Eastern Shore man who couldn't resist the millions of dollars mistakenly deposited into his bank account received a two-year prison sentence in federal court yesterday.

A computer error turned charges against Kenneth Shockley account into enormous assets. His original balance of $10.86 in 2003 ballooned so rapidly that by the spring of 2005, the owner of a trucking business had millions to his name.

In October, Shockley, 41, pleaded guilty to larceny in federal court in Baltimore, admitting he transferred $3,429,020 out of a business bank account that should have been closed years ago. Yesterday, a man friends and family called extremely generous and pious apologized.

"What were you thinking?" U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. asked Shockley at his sentencing.

Shockley replied that his trucking company's finances were in dire straits and his wife was tending to their son, who had been shot in Baltimore and later died.

"Did you realize that you weren't going to get away with it?" the judge asked.

Yes, Shockley said, he realized that now.

Shockley, the owner and operator of North America Logistics Services, a trucking company in Hurlock, opened an account in March 2002. After he made several overdrafts, Transportation Alliance Bank attempted to close the account in February 2003 but left it open by mistake. A computer error automatically began crediting the account.

In 2005, Shockley tapped into the windfall and moved millions of dollars from the business account to his personal account. The bank finally caught on when he attempted to wire $500,000 out of the account, then valued at almost $15 million.

Shockley used the funds to buy a new sport utility vehicle, a used Mercedes-Benz and six trucks for his business.

His pastor, business associate, daughter and wife testified on his behalf yesterday, saying that Shockley was a man of generous spirit who had been tempted by a pot of cash he had never sought. He was the last person, they said, who would have been suspected of theft.

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