MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A former Montgomery bank branch manager, convicted for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from an elderly customer, is going to federal prison, according to Louis V. Franklin, Sr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 28-year-old Montreal Holley will spend a little over three years behind bars after pleading guilty to theft of funds by a bank employee. The investigation started within months of Holley becoming the manager of a Montgomery Regions Bank branch in mid-2018.
In December of that year, Regions discovered Holley had wired $188,000 from an elderly customer’s account into his own account at another bank. Regions and the U.S. Secret Service began an investigation of Holley’s actions. The elderly customer died shortly after that probe was opened.
“This case is upsetting in many ways, and it serves as a reminder that criminals are targeting some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” U.S. Attorney Franklin explained. “Holley selected his victim because of her advanced age and illness."
According to the DOJ, Regions and the Secret Service found that Holley had convinced the elderly customer that she could trust only him to handle her money. Within months of gaining her trust, authorities say Holley set about draining nearly $315,000 from her accounts.
Authorities said Holley issued cashier’s checks, made wire transfers, and even issued a debit card on one of her accounts and used it to make ATM withdrawals. The stolen money was then used to pay off some of Holley’s loans, as well as those of his wife, his girlfriend, and other family members, according to statements made at his sentencing hearing.
Prosecutors said in one instance, Holley transferred more than $23,000 to pay off a car loan, which he later explained to investigators the victim had told him to do. Investigators determined the loan paid off a vehicle driven by Holley’s girlfriend.
After learning he’d been caught, the DOJ says Holley returned $188,000 of the stolen funds.
“He thought he would get away with stealing her money because no one would notice,” Franklin said. “Fortunately, Regions Bank discovered the suspicious activity in her account.”
As part of his sentencing, the man has been ordered to repay the remaining $125,000 to Regions Bank, which had already credited the stolen funds back to the victim’s account. Once released, Holley will be on supervised release for another three years.
"We must all be vigilant and take action when necessary to protect our senior family members and friends from being exploited,” Franklin said.
“Regions Bank investigators should be commended in this case," said Patrick Davis, Special Agent in Charge with the U.S. Secret Service, "Their quick response and thorough investigative support stopped this defendant from further financially exploiting the elderly victim in this case.”