A former senior vice president at Bank of America and her husband will each spend at least a year in prison after admitting in court that they conspired to steal $2.7 million from the bank in a scheme involving fraudulent donations to nonprofits.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, Palestine Ace (also known as Pam) and her husband, Jonathan Ace each pleaded guilty to a number of charges, including bank fraud and wire fraud.
Court documents showed that Pam Ace was once the senior vice president of Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management Division.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, from approximately October 2010 to April 2015, Pam Ace used her position at Bank of America to misappropriate funds from a marketing budget and transfer the money to nonprofit organizations.
And while that seems noble on the surface, Ace and her husband then proceeded to tell the nonprofits that they needed to return some of the money in order to continue receiving money from the bank. When the nonprofits returned the money, they were instructed to direct the money to the Aces, who then kept the money for themselves.
According to court documents, Pam Ace authorized 75 transactions, each under $50,000, to various nonprofit in Boston and Atlanta during the time period in question.
Then, the couple, either directly or indirectly, told the nonprofits that a sizable portion of the donated funds must to be returned in order to ensure that Bank of America would continue to fund the organization.
The nonprofits either wrote a check to Jonathan Ace or a co-conspirator directly, or they transferred the funds to a Bank of America account that the couple had access to.
And in some cases, Jonathan Ace “pressured the recipients of the donated funds to return a higher percentage of the funds to him, by using intimidation and threats of public humiliation,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated.
Court documents show that the couple used part of the money they embezzled from Bank of America to “support their lifestyle and pay for personal expenses, including lavish birthday parties and the purchase of a $17,000 Kawasaki motorcycle.”
In February of this year, Pam Ace pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and 12 counts of bank fraud, while Jonathan Ace pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and one count of engaging in an unlawful monetary transaction.
And earlier this week, Pam Ace was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $2,778,000. Jonathan Ace to two years in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $1,855,000.