A group of Fifth Third Bank employees used stolen personal information, fake documents and imposters in thrift-store disguises to steal thousands of dollars from the bank’s customers, according to a federal indictment filed Wednesday.
Eleven people are named in the indictment, which charges all of them with aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Five — Diamond Brocks, Kinesha Cavitt, Kelliele Berry, Jalen Rowe and Sharnese Davis — are described as Fifth Third customer service representatives.
According to the indictment, the employees identified customer accounts with high balances and stole their account information.
Investigators wrote the workers then passed the stolen information to the other six conspirators: Keyonte "Dom" Bronson, Juan "Tim" Leonard, Duane Grigsby, Marcus "Sleepy" Knox, Patrick "Sin Wolf" Walker and Gregory "Cook LaFlare" Palmer.
The next step involved using the account information to make in-person withdrawals, which usually ranged from $3,000-$8,000.
For the withdrawals, according to the indictment, the group hired outsiders — often people experiencing homelessness — and paid them a small percentage of the stolen cash to pose as real Fifth Third customers.
These accomplices were called “runners,” and the group created fake IDs with the runners’ picture beside a real customer’s name to strengthen the scam.
“In some instances, members of the conspiracy would drive the runner to a thrift store in order to dress the runner appropriately for the picture and pose as customers during the bank branch visits,” according to the indictment.
If convicted, the group could be required to repay everything they stand accused of stealing.
In a statement, a Fifth Third spokesperson thanked investigators for their efforts and said every customer affected by the scheme had been informed. Many were also reimbursed.
“The security of our customers’ assets and sensitive information is of the utmost importance to Fifth Third Bank," the statement reads. "We reiterate that commitment and our culture of honest and ethical business practices today. On an ongoing basis, we invest in training, education, and other measures to safeguard our customers’ information. We have reminded all employees of their obligation not only to commit to lawful, honest and ethical business practices themselves, but also to report suspected fraud when they encounter it."