Scotiabank manager Daniel Rogers pleads guilty to $216,000 fraud; 2nd bank official guilty in week
Published: August 2, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - Daniel Rogers on Wednesday became the second former Scotiabank manager in the span of a week to plead guilty to charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
Rogers, 39, entered a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office admitting to two counts of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud and a single count of money laundering.
The charges stem from a scheme executed between August 2009 and October 2011, when Rogers was a manager in the bank's centralized retail collection unit, which is responsible for managing foreclosed-upon properties, according to court records.
During that time, Rogers fraudulently added charges to customers' loan and mortgage accounts for forced place insurance, legal fees and property taxes. The charges essentially are additional loans granted to bank customers to allow them to repay loan-related costs over an agreed payment period.
The properties Rogers targeted had been foreclosed on or were close to foreclosure, so "the customers didn't pay attention to the additional costs," according to the plea agreement.
Rogers then converted the add-on payments to his own use by cashing checks that he created, made payable to other customers of the bank. He used the bank's "endorsement waived" stamp to endorse and cash the checks.
"According to Rogers, the money was used for taking vacations and paying off credit card charges," according to the plea agreement. "He also admits that some of the proceeds were used to purchase a vehicle."
In total, he took $216,000, according to the agreement. He agreed to forfeit a 2003 Acura MDX, a 1998 Toyota Tundra, interest in a Skyline Drive Village condominium, two savings accounts at Scotiabank and an unspecified T. Rowe Price investment account.
Rogers and his attorney agreed to the plea June 15, 2012. Prosecutors signed off on it July 24, and it remained under seal until Tuesday.
Rogers appeared Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Curtis Gomez to publicly enter guilty pleas to the four charges. Members of his family waiting outside the courtroom after the hearing declined to comment. Rogers was released on an unsecured $50,000 bond.
As Gomez noted in court Wednesday, the case bears striking similarities to that of Steve Gardner, an ex-Scotiabank branch manager who pleaded guilty last week in the same court to the same four charges. Gardner admitted to bilking $331,000 from the bank dating back to 2009. He told prosecutors he stole the money under the guise of paying charges on delinquent customer accounts.
Lawrence Aqui, Scotiabank's vice president for the U.S. Virgin Islands, emphasized that the bank does not tolerate criminal behavior or any violations of the bank's own guidelines of business conduct by its employees.
"When these issues occur, we deal with it very swiftly and very decisively," Aqui said.
Aqui said that as far as he knows, each man acted independently of the other, and no other employees were involved.
Rogers' plea agreement says that no one else was involved in the scheme, but Gardner's agreement contains no such language.
Aqui described the routine audit that caught both employees stealing as something that occurs company-wide every two to three years. He said the in-house auditors drill down to each individual branch in the company to examine its books. Aqui described the bank's internal controls as "very rigid," designed to withstand the detailed audits.
He said neither Gardner nor Rogers had repaid the bank as of Wednesday.
"There's definitely a criminal element here," he said. "But I've seen it in every country that I've been in. You see it here in the Virgin Islands. It's really unfortunate."
Gardner is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 25, and Rogers' sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 1. Each man could face a maximum jail term of 60 years, plus fines of $1.5 million.
- Contact Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.