OCC prohibition order says former Santander Bank employee stole customers’ funds

A former personal banking representative at Santander Bank, N.A. (Wilmington, Del.) who reportedly withdrew more than $46,000 from customers’ accounts without authorization was permanently barred from any involvement or future service in any federally insured financial institution by order of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Walter F. Mills, the order says, was employed at Santander Bank branches in Massachusetts from about March 2012 until his termination in February 2014. Between June 2013 and January 2014, it says, he “conducted or directed” 17 withdrawals totaling $46,027 from the deposit accounts of four bank customers without their authorization, converting those funds into official bank checks made out to those customers. Though the checks were made out to those customers, it says, Mills succeeded in depositing $33,483 of the purloined funds into his own personal account at Bank of America, N.A. (Charlotte, N.C.). Santander Bank later charged off $31,483 due to Mills’ misconduct, it says.

Mills also reportedly never answered notices from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and failed to respond to a later order to show cause why never did reply and request for hearing.

The order banning Mills was one of five enforcement actions taken in December and announced Thursday by the OCC. The other four included formal agreements with United Trust Bank (Palos Heights, Ill.) and with Texas Citizens Bank, National Association (Pasadena, Texas); and terminations of existing enforcement actions against United Trust Bank (same as previous) and First Community National Bank (Cuba).

OCC Enforcement Actions and Terminations