Bloomberg News

Ex-JPMorgan Chase Banker Pleads Guilty to $1.1 Million Theft

July 22, 2011

(Updates with details of crimes in sixth paragraph.)

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- A former JPMorgan Chase & Co. business banker pleaded guilty to using other people’s identities to steal more than $1.1 million from the bank and its customers, the Manhattan district attorney said.

Hao “Howie” Wang, 28, of Newark, New Jersey, pleaded guilty today in New York state Supreme Court to grand larceny, identity theft, falsifying business records, forgery and scheme to defraud, the office of District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement.

“The defendant took advantage of his access to the confidential files and accounts of customers who entrusted their money to JPMorgan Chase & Co.,” Vance said in the statement.

Wang, who worked at a retail branch at 270 Park Avenue from December 2007 to July 2008, was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Nov. 17 and indicted by a grand jury in New York in December. Prosecutors said he operated his scheme from February 2008 to February 2009.

In one instance, prosecutors said, he used the identity of a person without his knowledge or authorization to obtain a $100,000 loan from New York-based JPMorgan. Wang created fake bank documents in the name of the victim, who wasn’t a JPMorgan Chase customer, making it seem as if the person had opened the account and applied for the loan, according to the statement.

Falsified Documents

He transferred $90,000 of the stolen money into bank accounts outside the U.S. and spent the rest through debit card purchases and cash withdrawals, prosecutors said.

Several months later, in June 2008, Wang stole the identity of an actual JPMorgan customer and falsified documents to create a fake account in that person’s name, prosecutors said. Wang then transferred $250,000 from the person’s authorized JPMorgan Chase account into the fake account before sending $200,000 into bank accounts outside the U.S. and used $46,000 to purchase an Audemars Piguet watch.

In February 2009, Wang stole the identities of two other JPMorgan customers and used them to transfer $139,536 and $700,000 from their bank accounts to accounts outside the U.S., prosecutors said.

Remains in Jail

As part of his plea agreement, Wang will be sentenced to two to six years in prison and make full restitution, according to Vance’s office. He could have faced as long as 25 years on one of the grand larceny counts he faced had he been convicted at trial.

Wang was ordered to return to jail pending his next court appearance, for a pre-sentencing report, which is set for Aug. 4 before New York State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus, according to court records.

JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman Jennifer Zuccarelli didn’t immediately return a voice-mail and an e-mail message seeking comment on the plea.

--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Peter Blumberg

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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