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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Former Bank Employee Pleads Guilty to Stealing Over $223,000



U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJanuary 03, 2012
BALTIMORE—Rosamaria T. Somarriba, age 67, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today to mail fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud her employer’s bank customer and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM).
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to her plea agreement, Somarriba was employed within the International Trade Finance Division of M&T Bank in Baltimore, Maryland. Somarriba began working at the bank in 1985 and, at the time of her termination in early 2011, had attained the position of assistant vice president/relationship liaison. In this capacity, Somarriba was able to access bank customer accounts and transfer funds between them. EXIM provided loan guarantees and insurance coverage to M&T Bank.
In March 2011, after Somarriba had been terminated by M&T Bank for reasons unrelated to this case, the bank uncovered suspicious activity within the account of one of its bank customers, Company A. Company A had defaulted on its EXIM-guaranteed loan in October 2007; as a result, M&T Bank had filed a claim with EXIM, which agreed to “cover” Company A’s owed payments and to pay M&T Bank according to the original terms of Company A’s loan. However, the payments EXIM had paid M&T Bank on behalf of Company A exceeded the amounts required to continue funding the loan. As a result, excess funds accumulated within Company A’s account.
Further investigation revealed that between July 2006 and May 2010, Somarriba, who knew of the accumulation of these excess funds, made at least four unauthorized transfers out of Company A’s account, representing at least $169,582 originally belonging to EXIM, into another bank customer’s account (Company B). Somarriba then made over 30 unauthorized debits from Company B’s account amounting to at least $211,072, for her own benefit. In this way, Somarriba stole at least $169,582 in EXIM funds, and at least $41,490 in Company B’s funds.
Additionally, Somarriba withdrew $12,390 from Company B’s account to satisfy her and her husband’s debts owed to the IRS.
During the course of the scheme from at least as early as 2006 through at least February 2011, Somarriba defrauded EXIM and Company B of at least a total of $223,462.
Somarriba faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of gain or loss. As part of her plea agreement, Somarriba has agreed to pay restitution of, and to forfeit, at least $223,462. U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg scheduled her sentencing for May 31, 2012 at 3:00 p.m.
This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Sujit Raman, who is prosecuting the case.

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