When an elderly member’s large withdrawals raised red flags at the $308 million Signal Financial FCU of Kensington, Md., employees tracked and reported the activity, and they later learned the member had become the victim of a scam.
On Oct. 16, the two convicted scammers who stole some $60,000 from the longtime member were sentenced, the credit union announced.
According to Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, Jonathan Wayland Marshall and Steve Settles led the member to believe his roof was in need of excessive, unnecessary repairs and took at least $60,000 for a job that was likely worth around $7,000.
The scammers, both from the Culpeper, Va., area, will spend five years in prison for conspiring to overcharge the member and are responsible for restitution payments, Signal Financial FCU said.
“When we noticed a pattern of irregular withdrawals on this particular member’s account, we started the ball rolling with our fraud prevention team,” said Anna Vazzana, branch manager for Signal Financial FCU. “Careful monitoring enabled us to stop the scammers before it went any further.”
A new Maryland law requires financial institutions to report suspected financial exploitation of state residents ages 65 and older to Adult Protective Services within 24 hours or face a fine, the credit union said. The law also calls for credit union and bank staffers to be trained to recognize the signs of financial exploitation.
Added Vazzana, “Even before this law came to be, our responsibility as a financial institution is to protect our members, especially our seniors, who may be more vulnerable to scam artists.”