Former bank employee pleads guilty in theft case

DETROIT (AP) - A former Chase bank employee has pleaded guilty in a scheme to steal nearly $450,000 in government benefits from two late accountholders.

U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced last Thursday that 46-year-old Johnnie Christopher Jr. of Detroit pleaded guilty to theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. He was ordered to pay restitution and likely will be sentenced to at least four years and six months in prison on Feb. 25.

Prosecutors determined that Christopher, who was responsible for contacting customers the bank couldn't get ahold of, took additional steps outside of work to ensure the two accountholders had died. They said he then ordered replacement ATM cards and checks for the customers, both of whom had significant retirement or pension benefits, and liquidated their accounts.

Federal agents learned of the scheme in May.

Published: Mon, Oct 26, 2015