An Alabama bank manager who convinced an elderly customer to trust him with her money -- and then stole almost $315,000 from her -- was sentenced Friday to serve just over three years in federal prison.
Montreal Holley, 28, of Montgomery, was handed a 37-month sentence for theft, embezzlement or misapplication of funds by a bank employee, court records show. Holley, who faced up to 30 years in prison prior to his November plea, will be on supervised probation for three years upon his release.
Holley was also ordered to undergo mental health counseling while in prison and to pay more than $125,000 in restitution to Regions Bank, where he worked. According to court documents, the judge recommended he serve his sentence at the Maxwell Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery.
"This case is upsetting in many ways, and it serves as a reminder that criminals are targeting some of the most vulnerable people in our society," Louis Franklin, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, said in a statement, according to WSFA in Montgomery. "Holley selected his victim because of her advanced age and illness."
The woman died shortly after the investigation into Holley’s actions was launched in 2018.
Franklin said the investigation began not long after he became a branch manager for Regions in May 2018. According to Franklin’s statement, Holley had convinced the elderly customer that she could trust only him to handle her money.
Within months, he had drained nearly $315,000 from her accounts, WSFA reported.
Holley used cashier’s checks and wire transfers to empty the woman’s accounts and issued a debit card for one account, using it to make cash withdrawals from an ATM.
According to statements made during his sentencing, Holley used the stolen funds to pay off loans in his name, as well as in the names of his wife, girlfriend and other family members. Court documents show that in one instance, in December 2018, he used a cashier’s check to withdraw $23,266 from the woman’s bank account.
He used the money to pay off a car loan, the documents say. WSFA reported that the loan was for a car his girlfriend drove.
"He thought he would get away with stealing her money because no one would notice," Franklin said, according to the news station. "Fortunately, Regions Bank discovered the suspicious activity in her account."
Officials said Holley returned $188,000 of the stolen money after he was caught. The restitution he is ordered to pay is the remaining portion of what was stolen, according to federal court records.
Court documents show that Holley’s cooperation with the investigation played a role in the length of his sentence. He decided early on to plead guilty and waived indictment.
Two Jeeps were seized by the U.S. Secret Service during the investigation, the records show.
“The government agrees to seek restoration of any proceeds from the sale of those vehicles and to apply any such funds toward any restitution order imposed on the defendant,” Holley’s plea agreement states.
Patrick Davis, special Agent in charge with the Secret Service, said in a statement that bank investigators should be commended.
"Their quick response and thorough investigative support stopped this defendant from further financially exploiting the elderly victim in this case," Davis said, according to the news station.