Former Vice President of Maryland Bank Charged with Bank Embezzlement and Wire Fraud for Alleged Six-Year Scheme to Steal over $1.8 Million

January 2, 2017

Melissa Strohman, age 54, of Nottingham, Maryland, is facing federal charges of wire fraud and bank embezzlement, arising from a six-year scheme to steal over $1.8 million from bank customers at the bank where she worked, and use the money for her own benefit.

The criminal information was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Patti Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge, New York Region, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Office of Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

According to the criminal information, from April 2010 through July 2016, Strohman was Senior Vice President at a federal savings bank in Maryland, which had branches in Pikesville and Highlandtown. Strohman was responsible for managing the bank’s savings department, including overseeing deposits and Individual Retirement Accounts for every customer.  In addition, as the bank’s Bank Secrecy Officer, Strohman was responsible for filing Currency Transaction Reports and Suspicious Activity Reports for any transactions that were deemed to be suspicious or potentially illegal.

The criminal information alleges that, using her position at the bank, Strohman caused unauthorized transfers and withdrawals of funds from six customers’ bank accounts to pay for mortgages, credit card bills and property tax bills associated with Strohman and her family members.  Three of the six victim customers were at least 80 years old, and for two of the accounts the customers were deceased.

Strohman allegedly used her supervisory override function on the bank’s electronic banking system to facilitate unauthorized transfers between Person One and Person Two’s accounts to accounts associated with Strohman; forged the signature of Person Two in order to complete an unauthorized transaction between Person Two’s bank account to an American Express account associated with Strohman; and caused unauthorized transfers of funds from Person One and Person Two’s accounts into Person Three through Person Five’s accounts to replace the monies Strohman stole from Person Three through Person Five and to conceal those thefts.

Strohman faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud, and a maximum of 30 years in prison for bank embezzlement.  No court appearance has been scheduled yet for Strohman in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

A criminal information is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by information is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FDIC Office of Inspector General and FBI for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip A. Selden and Evan T. Shea, who are prosecuting the case.