A woman who worked as a bank branch manager in Tustin has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for stealing more than $1 million from a customer with dementia and using it to gamble and buy luxury items, officials announced Monday.
Marie Fulle, 38, of Newport Beach, had pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
She was also ordered to pay $1,091,230 in restitution.
Fulle was a branch manager at a Comerica bank in Tustin, and from February 2013 to April 2014, officials said she targeted an elderly man with dementia.
Fulle “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.
Between February and May of 2013, the defendant embezzled more than $43,000 over six transactions, and after she didn’t get an anticipated promotion at work, she embezzled larger amounts of the victim’s money. Ultimately, she changed the address for one of the victim’s accounts, which prevented statements from being delivered to the victim and his bookkeeper, officials said.
Fulle manipulated that account for embezzlement and started receiving the victim’s money after the address had been changed.
The defendant used the embezzled 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 conducted the victim’s banking activities during one-on-one sessions and therefore out of the view of other bank workers and security cameras.
She was fired from the bank in April 2014 when she was caught embezzling money from her cash drawer. When Comerica discovered the fraud against the victim, bank officials reimbursed him nearly $1.3 million for disputed transactions that Fulle processed, lost interest and attorneys’ fees, officials said. Fulle caused to the victim to lose $1,057,230.
This case was investigated by the FBI.