A new internal fraud case at Citizens Banks and Santander again proves that employees are often the weakest link in banks’ fraud control systems.
In this particular case, employees from two banks were recruited to work for an outside fraudster who wanted customer information and screenshots from them so he could commit a massive and lucrative fraud.
A former Citizens Bank employee, Savonnah Briggs, from Providence, admitted to a federal judge that she stole banking information from customers and sent screenshots to the leader of a fraud ring.
A second employee, Isha-Lee Savage, 24, admitted that, while employed by Santander Bank, she also accessed customer information and sent screenshots of that information to the same leader of the Fraud Ring.
Both employees worked for bank locations in Rhode Island.
Citizen Bank Employee Provided Stolen Check Images And Customer Information To Richard Kobi
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Briggs accessed customers’ information and check images, and then provided screenshots to Richard Kobi, 27, of Providence, the conspiracy’s ringleader.
Kobi then used the stolen information to create fraudulent checks that he deposited into his own bank, or that he provided to other individuals that he solicited on Facebook and paid to deposit the checks into bank accounts they controlled.
After the checks were deposited, Koboi and others made, or attempted to make, rapid cash withdrawals from ATMs or bank tellers.
According to information presented to the court, members of the conspiracy created and deposited approximately $330,000 worth of counterfeit checks.
Santander Bank Employee Also Provided Screen Shots To Richard Kobi
Isha-Lee Savage provided screenshots of customer’s information and sent that information to Richard Kobi so that he could use it in a fraud scheme.
The information was used to create fraudulent checks that the leader of the fraud conspiracy, Richard Koboi, provided to other individuals that he solicited on Facebook and paid to deposit the checks into bank accounts that they controlled.
Savage also used her position working in the bank’s call center to ask customers to provide their debit card information which Savage then provided to her co-conspirators so that they could make fraudulent purchases.
All Three Fraudsters Plead Guilty
Savage and Briggs each pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge to commit bank fraud. Briggs is scheduled to be sentenced on April 25, 2023; Savage is scheduled to be sentenced on May 2, 2023. A federal district judge will determine the defendants’ sentences after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Richard Kobi pleaded guilty on April 27, 2022, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, ten counts of bank fraud, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced in December 2022 to three years in federal prison.