4:50 p.m.: updated with comments from Wells Fargo.
YONKERS, N.Y. – A 29-year-old former banker from Yonkers has been arraigned in the fraud of elderly customers at the Wells Fargo Bank branch where he worked, the Westchester County District Attorney's Office said Friday.
William Saffian, 1155 Warburton Ave., was a personal banker at the Wells Fargo branch on Saw Mill River Road in Ardsley. Between Aug. 23, 2010, and Jan. 10, 2012, he created joint accounts between two previously unaffiliated customers without permission, and in doing so was able to set up dozens of unauthorized transfers and illegal withdrawals, the District Attorney's Office said in a news release.
Saffian impersonated the customers over the phone or on the Internet through online banking access he set up without authorization, the release said. He made ATM, check or counter withdrawals, and then changed the addresses where customer statements were sent. There were 14 victims in total, and most were over the age of 80, the release said.
Wells Fargo corporate security notified the District Attorney’s Office in February 2012, and an investigation began with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Secret Service.
"William Saffian no longer works for the company," Kevin Friedlander, Wells Fargo's Northeast Communications Manager, said. "Our customers were not held responsible for unauthorized charges on their Wells Fargo accounts. This is an ongoing legal matter which is being handled by the Westchester County District Attorney’s office. We can’t comment any further and we continue to cooperate with them."
Saffian faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison on the top count of an eight-count indictment. He is charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny, a class C felony; three counts of second-degree forgery, class D felonies; three counts of first-degree falsifying business records, class E felonies; and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud relating to the theft of more than $535,000, a class E felony.
After Saffian's arraignment, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said, “This defendant carefully targeted his victims, preying on the elderly and those who were not paying close attention to their bank account balances. His almost daily electronic transfers of thousands of dollars should be a reminder to all of us to monitor our accounts and remain vigilant.”
Saffian was arrested by investigators from the District Attorney’s Office and arraigned Thursday in Ardsley Village Court. His next court date is Jan. 28 in Ardsley Village Court.