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Brooklyn, NY - Former Bank Manager Arrested In $5 Million Fraud Involving Two Borough Park Banks

Published on: May 16, 2018 04:23 PM
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Brooklyn, NY - Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector in Charge of the New York Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced today the unsealing of a criminal Complaint charging MOSHE BENENFELD, a/k/a “Michael Benenfeld,” with bank fraud, in connection with hundreds of unauthorized transactions BENENFELD conducted in bank customer accounts when employed by two different New York-area banks. 

BENENFELD is expected to be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara C. Moses today.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said:  “As alleged, Moshe Benenfeld betrayed his position of trust as a bank branch manager to steal account holders’ money.  Thanks to the Postal Inspection Service, Benenfeld is in custody and facing prosecution for his alleged crime.”

Inspector in Charge Bartlett said:  “Mr. Benenfeld exploited the position of trust granted to him by his employer.  He stole from family and friends to enrich himself and others.  Postal Inspectors encourage customers to keep a watchful eye on their money, no matter who it is entrusted to.” 

According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

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Between 2000 and 2016, BENENFELD was the branch manager at a branch of a New York-area bank (“Bank-1”).  Beginning in or about 2004 and continuing into 2016, while employed at Bank-1, BENENFELD conducted hundreds of unauthorized transactions involving the accounts of over 20 bank customers, including the accounts of BENENFELD’s relatives. 

Among other things, BENENFELD made unauthorized draws on, and payments to, customers’ lines of credit; made unauthorized withdrawals from, and deposits to, customers’ deposit accounts; and used customers’ deposit accounts as collateral for other customers’ lines of credit, without authorization. 

To effect the unauthorized transactions, BENENFELD would, among other things, forge the signatures of bank customers and use a document previously signed by a bank customer to create paperwork that falsely purported to authorize a different transaction. 

In or about April 2016, after having discovered BENENFELD’s conduct, Bank-1 terminated BENENFELD’s employment.  In or about June 2016, BENENFELD was hired by another bank (“Bank-2”).  At Bank-2, BENENFELD continued to conduct unauthorized transactions involving customer accounts.  As a result of the unauthorized transactions conducted by BENENFELD, Bank-1 sustained losses of over $5 million.

BENENFELD, 49, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with one count of bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the investigative work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s New York Division.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.



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Read Comments (19)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 16, 2018 at 05:00 PM Hiymishclown Says:

No one should assume he is guilty until after trial. The article doesn't clearly delineate how Benenfeld profited. Seems like alot of these were for clients that are now claiming unauthorized transactions. Moreover, if he was terminated for fraud, how'd he get a job at another bank?- does anyone think bank 2 wouldn't have checked him out? Story doesn't add up. Benenfeld helped alot of organizations in his role of bank manager and should be given the benefit of the doubt until further evidence is forthcoming.

2

 May 16, 2018 at 05:05 PM Jew Says:

Blown out of proportion by the goverment, as usual. It’s a nothing burger.
This will go away easily.
This man did/does a lot of good.

3

 May 16, 2018 at 05:08 PM As I see it Says:

Man, this guy does it in one bank and gets caught - then is hired by another bank?
Someone is not watching the kitty or is not playing with a full deck.

I hope the Boro Park banks are not anti-semites (as that might come as an excuse)

4

 May 16, 2018 at 05:10 PM Anonymous Says:

To #1- Look, if it walks like a duck, acts like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. If the branch manager was a gentile, who defrauded the accounts of Yehudim, then you might have a different attitude.

5

 May 16, 2018 at 05:22 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

6

 May 16, 2018 at 05:30 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

To #1- Look, if it walks like a duck, acts like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. If the branch manager was a gentile, who defrauded the accounts of Yehudim, then you might have a different attitude.

Not at all. That's a fake statement. When the FBI or DA gets their fat claws on you they will get you on anything. That duck theory doesn't work with KGB like tactics by law enforcement.

I don't know much about this guy and I am no expert. I will judge based on this unclear article. It doesn't sound like he profited. It sounds more like he did some hiemsha favors. Very small potatoes.

Agree with #1

7

 May 16, 2018 at 05:31 PM Chaim Says:

Reply to #1  
Hiymishclown Says:

No one should assume he is guilty until after trial. The article doesn't clearly delineate how Benenfeld profited. Seems like alot of these were for clients that are now claiming unauthorized transactions. Moreover, if he was terminated for fraud, how'd he get a job at another bank?- does anyone think bank 2 wouldn't have checked him out? Story doesn't add up. Benenfeld helped alot of organizations in his role of bank manager and should be given the benefit of the doubt until further evidence is forthcoming.

Even after a trial a verdict of guilty gets thrown out many times on appeal.

8

 May 16, 2018 at 05:40 PM inNY Says:

To me it seems he did favors, and screwed up somewhere, so one of the accounts went to 'maser' him

9

 May 16, 2018 at 05:45 PM Hiymishclown Says:

Reply to 4: Wouldn't make a difference what nationality or religion the manager is. The story doesn't add up as I noted, including his being hired by bank 2. So far the only ones quacking are you and the prosecutors, sometimes notorious for prosecutorial misconduct (e.g., hiding evidence) in order to railroad defendants.

10

 May 16, 2018 at 06:02 PM Aron1 Says:

I happen to be one of those 20 clients. All I can say is that I did not suffer any losses.
I don't see where he profited, nor how the bank suffer a 5 million dollars loss.

11

 May 16, 2018 at 06:44 PM Bklyn Says:

As usual trumpet, up charges. something is fishy here, if he did something criminal, would have been arrested by the first bank, he was only fired.

12

 May 16, 2018 at 06:47 PM Phineas Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

To #1- Look, if it walks like a duck, acts like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. If the branch manager was a gentile, who defrauded the accounts of Yehudim, then you might have a different attitude.

The facts are very unclear. There are no ducks in sight yet. True, I am giving a Yid more of the benefit of the doubt. I'm allowed to do that as I am not juror or judge on this case. I see a bunch of facts that don't add up to him benefiting from this.

13

 May 16, 2018 at 07:12 PM Anonymous Says:

To #11- In many cases involving white collar crime, an institution which has been defrauded will only fire the individual, as they don't want the bad publicity involving an arrest, trial, etc.

14

 May 16, 2018 at 08:32 PM Bank 11 can not comment Says:

When a person is terminated in a situation like this the terminated bank is scared of being sued for false statements so they will only confirm dates of employment. Unless there are criminal charges they have nothing that they could safely say without being sued.

15

 May 16, 2018 at 09:16 PM shvigger Says:

Am I missing something? How did he profit from this and how the the bank lose five million dollars?

16

 May 17, 2018 at 12:06 AM lazy-boy Says:

hard to believe that a person would steal from "family and friends to enrich" himself and friends.....

but people do weird things, and unfortunately frum Jews are NO exception.....

17

 May 17, 2018 at 12:39 AM Anonymous Says:

Attention to all thousands of people that Mr. Beinenfeld supported for many many years, including satmar rz"l, Belz, Bobov 45. Shuvu, chai lifeline, etc etc
Don't stand on the side show some hakoras hatoiv and be there for Moishe when he needs your support,
We all saw his mesiras nefesh and good heart for every yid of all walks of life, mamash one of a kind
Let's all try to see how we can help him get out of these mesiras bkorov

18

 May 17, 2018 at 06:00 AM PaulinSaudi Says:

#10, I appreciate your comments very much and hope you keep us informed.

19

 May 17, 2018 at 11:02 AM Chochom Says:

Reply to #6  
Educated Archy Says:

Not at all. That's a fake statement. When the FBI or DA gets their fat claws on you they will get you on anything. That duck theory doesn't work with KGB like tactics by law enforcement.

I don't know much about this guy and I am no expert. I will judge based on this unclear article. It doesn't sound like he profited. It sounds more like he did some hiemsha favors. Very small potatoes.

Agree with #1

True, I heard from many, he basically did what many banks used to do, if he knew you he would go around the red tape, and process your transactions/credit etc. He did it out of his good heart and brought the bank many clients. They probably knew about it all the time and looked the other way, as long as he's brining in profit etc.

Somehow new managemnt probably took over and decided to release him...

20

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