Chelsea bank employee pleads guilty in $100k theft from elderly man
A former personal banker from Chelsea yesterday pleaded guilty to stealing more than $100,000 from an elderly man and concealing her income in order to receive rent subsidies, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said today.
Eden Cato, 30, of Chelsea yesterday admitted to charges of bank embezzlement and larceny from a person over 60 for stealing funds from a 73-year-old bank customer, as well as two counts each of larceny by false pretense, larceny over $250 by a single scheme, and perjury for providing the Department of Housing and Urban Development with false information regarding her income and assets in order to receive rental subsidies.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke imposed a sentence of two years, which will be suspended for a period of seven years, and seven years of probation. Locke also imposed a 90-day period of home confinement, scheduled to begin Monday, during which time Cato will be monitored by GPS and may only leave her home for medical emergencies, court obligations, and religious occasions.
Cato was ordered to pay full restitution and refrain from any employment or volunteer work that would grant her access to third party monies or accounts.
Cato yesterday paid $10,000 toward her restitution and forfeited an additional $47,000 that was seized from her bank account pursuant to a warrant.
Prosecutors said that if the case had gone to trial, they would have introduced evidence and testimony to prove that Cato used her position as a personal banker for Bank of America to issue herself a debit card on the victim’s account without his authorization. Cato had met the victim a week and a half earlier when he visited a downtown Boston bank branch to add his daughter to one of his accounts. Cato used the card to make 173 ATM withdrawals totaling $103,253.50 over the course of nine months, prosecutors said.
One of the victim’s daughters discovered the withdrawals and contacted Cato, who told the woman that the fraud had been reported too late for any of the funds to be recovered, prosecutors said. The woman then turned to other bank representatives, resulting in an internal investigation and eventual charges. At the time of Cato’s arrest, she was carrying bank deposit slips that she admitted were for funds taken from the elderly victim, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said evidence would also have shown that Cato withheld information about her income and assets in order to receive rent subsidies from HUD.
The Chelsea apartment building in which Cato, her daughter, and her ex-husband lived was privately owned but low-income tenants were eligible for subsidized rent based on each individual’s ability to pay.
After she began working for Bank of America in June 2010, Cato failed to report her income or assets – including five bank accounts she held. As a result, Cato paid as little as $9 a month for rent. Had Cato properly reported her income and assets, prosecutors said her rent payments between July 2010 and her indictment in January would have been at least $23,192 greater than the amount she actually paid during that time period.