MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A long-time Twin Cities bank employee is facing charges she stole more than $600,000 from a customer.
Cynthia Van DuSartz was a manager at Anchor Bank in West St. Paul, where she had worked for nearly 30 years.
A customer called the bank last Friday to say he was missing money.
Charges say Van DuSartz told him she would look into it, but then she left the bank and never returned his call. The bank fired Van DuSartz that same day.
Prosecutors say an investigation has since found that suspicious transactions had been made involving the customer’s account which date back to November of 2013.
“We’re talking about a lot of money. We’re talking about over $600,000 that’s missing from one victim,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said.
And investigators say Van DuSartz went to great lengths to hide the money she was stealing — going so far as to set up fake accounts with fake names.
“We believe a couple of the names were fictitious, and one [of the accounts] apparently was in the name of a deceased sister of the defendant in this case,” Backstrom said.
After the victim called on Friday and Van DuSartz left the bank, both branch managers and police began an investigation.
A third party has also been brought in by Anchor Bank to do forensics work. A review of one of the fake accounts that Van DuSartz allegedly created shows money being withdrawn from various casinos.
“The defendant was using this money to gamble. Some of the withdrawals from these accounts were made from Treasure Island Casino and some … withdrawals were made from Las Vegas casinos,” Backstrom said.
The victim told police that Van DuSartz was his go-to person for all his banking.
On her company bio, she is described as a manager responsible for keeping things “running smoothly.”
Van DuSartz turned herself into police, but was charged and released after agreeing to have no contact with the bank and the victim. She also had to turn in her passport and agree not to gamble.
Backstrom says this case is a reminder to keep a close eye on your bank accounts.
“It is important to check, and if you have questions to raise those questions right away, because this went on for, you know, a period of years,” Backstrom said.
In a statement sent to WCCO, Anchor Bank said the customer will get his money back, and they do have a contingency plan for situations like this.
Van DuSartz could have to pay the money back and spend up to four years in prison if she is convicted in this case.
Both Anchor Bank and police are investigating whether or not there may be more victims.