Feds investigate missing bank accounts

Dec. 9, 2005 at 5:09 PM

CHICAGO, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The FBI and U.S. Bank are investigating money missing from dozens of accounts opened mostly by low-wage earning Mexican immigrants.

Dozens of customers of U.S. Bank in Highwood, Ill. -- formerly the Highwood Bank -- say money, certificates of deposit, and in some cases their entire life savings have been stolen.

One Hispanic man told WLS-TV, Chicago, his mother's $40,000 retirement fund had disappeared. More than 50 customers may be missing funds in accounts drawn down without permission, or given fake account numbers the bank says don't exist.

Illinois State Sen. Susan Garret said most of the accounts were opened by immigrants who may be in the country illegally and may be afraid to come forward.

A spokesman for Minnesota-based U.S. Bancorp, parent of U.S. Bank, said all the records involve the activity of one former bank employee and have been turned over to police and the FBI.

The bank has been conducting an internal investigation for weeks tracing the missing accounts, the Chicago Tribune said.

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