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Manager at Back Bay bank who figured he could drain dormant accounts belonging to foreigners gets two years in federal prison for figuring wrong

A federal judge in Boston yesterday sentenced Nathan Wadsworth, 32, to 25 months in federal prison for the way he made off with $121,000 from the accounts of foreigners who hadn't accessed their accounts at PNC Bank for a long time.

Wadsworth was manager of the bank's branch on Boylston Street in the Back Bay when he siphoned off the money from five different accounts in 2020 and 2021, by managing to transfer money from those accounts to local accounts he controlled, according to court records.

The bank has since restored the money to the accounts, so Wadsworth will have to repay the bank.

According to prosecutors, the bank began to learn of his activity during a security check, when it sent a message to an account holder in Germany asking if she really meant to change her account address to Somerville and she said no. Investigators discovered Wadsworth had done that as part of his scheme to transfer her money to a local account he controlled.

Wadsworth pleaded guilty in June to one count of bank fraud.

In a plea deal, both the US Attorney's office and Wadsworth's attorney agreed to a 25-month sentence. In their sentencing memoranda to US District Court Judge Leo Sorokin, prosecutors made a case why Sirokin should not sentence Wadsworth to less, while Wadsworth's attorney argued why Sirokin should not sentence him to more.

Prosecutors said Wadsworth was simply greedy and looking to support a higher-flying life than he could afford on his $115,000 annual salary.

His attorney, though, said Wadsworth was a good man, "hardworking and thoughtful," and with no criminal record, who was simply overwhelmed by student and credit-card debt and did something really stupid. In addition to the time he will spend in prison and the money he has to repay, the lawyer continued, Wadsworth will suffer the permanent injury of never being able to work in banking again.

Mr. Wadsworth was enticed by the supposed easy money that he could make by taking money from dormant accounts of people who were not native to the United States. In retrospect, he would not make the same error, and would give anything to go back in time and undo his actions. Of course, he cannot and he must and does live with the results. He understands that he will be incarcerated, and that he must pay back what he took.

At least up until he reports for prison, Wadsworth works at Amazon - and worked his way up to become manager of the packing department at his local warehouse in Syracuse, NY - where he moved back in with his parents after the bank fired him, his lawyer said.

He works 48 to 50 hours per week, and earns $20.30 per hour, and makes less than half of what he was earning at PNC Bank. He hopes to go back to school and finish his degree in his original area of study: engineering / STEM. He sought out mental health services, and he continues with treatment.

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He is an example of how living in American society can make people desperate

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I think it really just shows that someone with a greedy streak living in a society that declares Greed Is Good can make some stupid, harmful, and of course selfish decisions. It doesn't seem like this guy was a victim of anything.

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He is an example of a greedy person who betrays others' trust.
He was making $115 K.

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This guy must have made it seem like the accounts were being used, because banks keep track of dormant accounts, believe me. On two separate occasions two different banks sent me letters threating to give all the money in the savings accounts I had with them to the state because I had not made a deposit or withdrawal in exactly one year to the day. So much for using savings accounts for savings.

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It is called escheatment. Banks have to turn over the amounts held in dormant accounts on a schedule based on that State's law. The state takes custody. In Massachusetts it is managed as Unclaimed Property. They sometimes run ads for Find My Money where you can check to see if there is money held on your behalf.

Banks will send an annual letter in part to see if they get returned mail with an address change. Fraud on dormant accounts is carefully watched. The BSA department of this bank was slow to discover the transactions. They are usually easy to spot and quickly remediate.

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I didn't get into it in the story (maybe I should have), but, yeah, he didn't just transfer funds - he went through a fairly elaborate process after identifying quiescent accounts.

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Adam, that's the fun stuff! That's where the story lies. Not that I'm a journalist. But I am a banker and know the details and written well they could be fun to read.

Voting closed 8