Saturday, September 30, 2023
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Bank Won’t Cover VP’s Thefts, Customer Says

MIAMI (CN) - A customer says an assistant vice president at Wachovia Bank stole $84,343 from his account - the FBI confirmed it and the bank admitted it - but Wachovia's successor, Wells Fargo, refuses "to return a single penny" of it, the man claims in Miami-Dade County Court.

Alfredo Lascoutx, of Venezuela, sued Wells Fargo Bank, successor to Wachovia, for conversion, civil theft, and negligence. Wells Fargo bought Wachovia for $15 billion in October 2008, as banks were melting like cold cash in the summer sun. Wachovia itself got in trouble, and its share price fell as low as $2, after buying Golden West Bank, which was tanking due to its portfolio of subprime mortgage loans.

Lascoutx says Wachovia knew as early as 2005 that its Assistant Vice President of International Banking Osmara Fonseca had been stealing his money, and that she started doing it in 2001.

Lascoutx says the FBI told him about her thefts, from him and from other customers, in August 2008, and told him as well that Wachovia had failed to disclose her thefts, to him or to other victims.

Lascoutx says he met with the FBI in Venezuela on Aug. 8, 2008, then in January 2009 "at the request of the FBI flew to Miami and met with fraud investigators from Wachovia, the FBI and United States Postal Service investigators regarding Fonseca's thefts. At this meeting, the fraud investigators from Wachovia acknowledged the theft for the first time, apologized, and assured the plaintiff that the money would be restored to his account," the complaint states.

It continues: "Despite having actual knowledge that the thefts took place, including litigation and resolving a civil lawsuit against Osmara Fonseca arising out of Fonseca's theft from Wachovia's customers' accounts (upon information and belief a settlement in excess of $250,000 was tendered to Wachovia by Fonseca), the defendant has completely refused to return a single dime of plaintiff's money, and despite stringing him along through various emails and phone conversations assuring him that his money would be repaid, the plaintiff was not aware that Wachovia was refusing to return a single penny of his money until there was no response to his October 24, 1010 written demand sent by the undersigned counsel."

Lascoutx seeks damages, punitive damages and costs. He is represented by Christopher Nelson.

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