A former branch manager of a bank in Tustin has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after FBI investigation revealed that she stole more than $1 million from a male customer with dementia and used the money to gamble and buy luxury items, authorities said on Monday.
Marie Fulle, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. She was sentenced January 25, and also ordered to pay $1,091,230 in restitution in addition to time in prison.
Authorities said she targeted the elderly man with dementia and conducted his banking activities during one-on-one sessions from February 2013 to April 2014 and therefore out of the view of other bank employees and security cameras.
Fulle of New Port Beach was a branch manager at a Comerica bank in Tustin. She “cultivated an exclusive banking relationship” with the victim, opened various bank accounts with him and “used them to create a confusing web in which she could hide unauthorized transfers, and forged withdrawals with cashier’s checks,” officials said.
Fulle reportedly embezzled more than $43,000 over six transactions between February and May of 2013, and after she didn’t get an anticipated promotion at work, Fulle embezzled much more amounts of the victim’s money.
Prosecutors say she changed the address for one of the victim’s accounts to prevent the statements from being delivered to him and his bookkeeper. After she changed the address on the account, “significant amounts of the victim’s money began flowing through it,” authorities said.
She then used the funds to pay for Tiffany jewelry, at least one Louis Vuitton bag, spa days for herself and her boyfriend at the time and gambling trips to Las Vegas, officials said.
Fulle was fired from the bank in April 2014 when she was caught embezzling money from her cash drawer. When the bank discovered the fraud against the victim, it reimbursed him nearly $1.3 million for disputed transactions that Fulle processed, lost interest and attorneys’ fees, officials said.
In total, Fulle cost the victim $1,057,230. The slightly higher restitution amount of $1,091,230 which she was ordered to pay in addition to prison sentence, includes the victim’s attorneys’ fees, according to the report.