Bank manager admits using position to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from customer


Date: May 16, 2024


A former New York-based branch manager of an international financial institution today admitted using his position to steal more than $208,000 from a customer, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

James Gomes, of New York, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud affecting a financial institution.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In early 2020, Gomes worked as the branch manager of a New York-based branch of an international bank. Starting in January 2020, Gomes used his position to improperly access bank accounts in the name of a bank customer. Without approval, Gomes enrolled the customer’s accounts in the bank’s online banking services. Gomes linked his personal phone number to the customer’s accounts and created a fraudulent email address containing the customer’s name, which he similarly linked to the customer’s accounts. Gomes also used the fraudulent email address to “correspond” with his official bank email address to make it appear that the customer was sending instructions to the bank. In March and April 2020, Gomes fraudulently transferred a total of $208,939 from the customer’s accounts to Gomes’ personal bank accounts at other financial institutions, to his personal investment account, and to pay his personal cell phone bill. Gomes continued the scheme even after the customer died on April 5, 2020.

The charge of wire fraud affecting a financial institution carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 6, 2024.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers of IRS - Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jenifer L. Piovesan in Newark; and special agents of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General, New York Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia Tarasca, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea. He also thanked the Morristown Police Department.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marko Pesce of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark and Trial Attorneys D. Zachary Adams and Chelsea Rooney of the Justice Department’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section.