A Riverdale resident who wishes to remain unnamed while his case is being resolved, said he was stunned last week when he received an e-mail from Chase Bank stating that his balance had fallen below $1,000.
According to Capt. Kevin Burke, commander of the 50th Precinct, 25 similar instances of theft from local Chase branches at 3775 Riverdale Ave. and 13 Knolls Crescent have been reported since Aug. 30.
He said the crimes seem confined to the two Riverdale branches.
The typical amount disappearing from accounts is $4,000, he said, taken in two withdrawals of $2,000.
“An individual has an account there and somehow the perp is establishing a linked account to that original account,” said Capt. Burke, and then withdrawing funds.
The Riverdalian who spoke to The Press said that shortly after he called Chase about his missing funds, the bank notified him that a woman in Brooklyn had transferred $3,000 from his real account into a joint account, which she had opened falsely using his wife’s name.
“They had a lot of my wife’s personal data and they used it to open an account,” said the alleged victim.
The bank pledged to restore his original balance within a few days.
“They’ve been really good about it,” he said, a sentiment that was echoed by Capt. Burke.
Capt. Burke said that account holders’ personal information is being compromised and that he suspects that whoever is responsible is using fake identification.
There have not been any arrests, but Capt. Burke said a former employee who first worked at the Riverdale Avenue branch and was transferred to the Knolls Crescent branch is being questioned.
The ex-employee was transferred because her drawer at the Riverdale Avenue branch kept coming up short, he said. She was terminated when the same thing happened at the second location.
After Chase was alerted to the recent wave of illegal withdrawals, the company conducted an internal audit that showed the former employee had used her access code to get into clients’ accounts without reason.
According to Capt. Burke, the investigation has not amounted to a reduction in the number of reports of illegal withdrawals. Instead, he said, as news of the breaches has spread, account holders have been checking their balances and realizing that they, too, were victims.
In March, The Riverdale Press reported that police and victims said at least $20,000 was allegedly taken from safe deposit boxes at the Chase Bank branch located at 5656 Riverdale Ave in North Riverdale.
Riverdale resident Noel Muldoon said that on Feb. 10, 2011 he discovered $10,000 — “all of my wedding presents”— stolen from his safe deposit box.
Another Riverdale resident, who did not want to give her name because she is awaiting payment in a lawsuit over the issue, told The Press last year that on July 26, 2011 she discovered $10,000 missing from her safe deposit box.
The North Riverdale branch was also the site of a bank robbery this April.
It is not clear if the more recent spate of crimes is related to previous security breaches.
“We’re working with the authorities on the investigation,” said to Chase spokesman Mike Fusco.
“… We’ll reimburse all affected customers who have unauthorized transactions. We encourage customers to regularly check their bank statement and notify the bank if they notice any suspicious transactions,” he said.
A BROCHURE titled A Guide to Credit Cards is available at Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz’s office, 3107 Kingsbridge Ave., just north of West 231st Street. Call 718-796-5345 to get the brochure.