Bank teller, others charged in alleged scam

December 29th, 2017 7:41 pm

HAZLE TWP. — A bank teller and four other people were charged this week with swindling a large amount of money from the accounts of two customers earlier this month.

State police at Hazleton alleged Ashlee Felix, 22, of Hazleton, conspired with Dwaine Gilley, 24, Njia Rheji Graham, 24, Randy Escoto, 27, and Emily Maria Fernandez, 21, all from Hazleton, to withdraw money from two accounts at the M&T Bank branch in the Laurel Mall on Dec. 8.

According to a news release from the state police:

Felix was a bank teller at the M&T Bank branch and had given notice in November she would be leaving her employment. On her last day of employment on Dec. 8, state police allege Felix conspired with the four others to access the accounts of John Verrastro, of Drums, and Thomas Forte, of Drums.

State police allege Gilley, Graham and Escoto entered the bank on Felix’s last day and withdrew $15,000 from Verrastro’s account, and made two separate withdrawals from Forte’s account in the amounts of $16,500 and $15,000.

State police allege withdrawal slips with account numbers and forged signatures with Verrastro’s and Forte’s names were used.

Felix was arraigned Friday on six counts of theft by unlawful taking and a single count of receiving stolen property. She was released on $50,000 bail after her arraignment by District Judge James Dixon in Hazle Township.

Arrest warrants were issued for Gilley, Graham and Escoto who are each charged with two counts of forgery, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and identity theft. An arrest warrant is also issued for Fernandez charging her with forgery, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and identity theft.