Royersford man jailed for stealing from elderly clients

NORRISTOWN — A former personal banker at a Pottstown financial institution is headed to prison after admitting to engaging in a scheme to steal money from six elderly female clients.

Jon Dugan, 30, formerly of the 500 block of Douglass Drive, Douglass (Berks), and most recently of Township Line Road, Royersford, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Friday to five-to-23 months in the county jail, to be followed by five years’ probation, after he pleaded guilty to multiple charges of theft by deception in connection with incidents that occurred while he worked for the Wells Fargo Bank branch, 1470 E. High St., between June and August 2011.

Judge Gary S. Silow also ordered Dugan to pay $7,671 in restitution to the bank.

Dugan must report to jail on July 26 to begin serving the sentence. Dugan is eligible for a jail work-release program during his incarceration.

Assistant District Attorney Alec O’Neill argued for a jail sentence against Dugan.

“This was a violation of trust,” said O’Neill, referring to Dugan’s relationship with his customers and to the bank that employed him. “He was stealing money from elderly victims. It’s a case where he didn’t care who he was hurting and he didn’t value his responsibility as an employee of that bank. It was greed.”

Defense lawyer Keith Harbison argued for leniency on behalf of Dugan.

The six victims ranged in age from 77 to 92, according to court papers.

An investigation of Dugan began in August 2011 when a corporate investigator with Wells Fargo reported to Pottstown detectives that Dugan was a suspect in a number of thefts from several customers’ accounts, according to the arrest affidavit.

“One of Dugan’s responsibilities included assisting customers with their banking needs,” Pottstown Detective Sergeant Brian Rathgeb alleged in the criminal complaint. “It appears from the investigation that the thefts were similar in nature. Dugan’s modus operandi regarding his deception and thievery shared a common scheme and design.”

Dugan attempted to deceive the elderly women by offering confusing and persistent financial advice, according to prosecutors.

Once his victims were sufficiently confused, Dugan would present the victims with unsigned withdrawal slips from their bank accounts, according to court papers. Using those, he withdrew money, in amounts ranging between $230 and $1,100, for his own financial benefit, prosecutors alleged. The thefts reached nearly $9,000, court papers indicate.

“All of the victims advised that Dugan was a super nice person who they totally entrusted with their finances. They also noted that they were extremely confused by the financial advice that Dugan was offering, sometimes unsolicited,” Rathgeb alleged. “Although the victims were confused, they completed transactions that Dugan had suggested.”

During the first theft on June 7, 2011, Dugan made an unauthorized withdrawal of $500 from the account of an 89-year-old woman who came to the bank seeking his financial advice, according to the criminal complaint. The theft spree ended Aug. 1, 2011, when Dugan withdrew $1,100 from the account of an 87-year-old woman and a Wells Fargo corporate investigator later confronted him about money missing from various accounts, court documents indicate.

When confronted by bank officials, Dugan denied responsibility for the missing money. However, later that day, a person matching Dugan’s appearance went to an ATM and used a debit card issued in the 87-year-old woman’s name without her knowledge to deposit $1,100 cash into the woman’s account, according to the arrest affidavit.

“Dugan purposely targeted the elderly victims to employ his thievery and deceptive tactics, believing he could outsmart them” Rathgeb alleged.