ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - A former west St. Louis County bank teller accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a bank customer is facing another stealing charge after a second victim was discovered.
Michelle Green, 58, was charged with stealing $25,000 or more - a class C felony. Last week, Green, of Ballwin, was arrested again on another stealing charge.
While working as a teller at Regions Bank at 1300 Clarkson Clayton Center in Ellisville, investigators said Green befriended a customer and skimmed money from that customer's bank accounts. During an "exhaustive" forensic investigation by Ellisville police and Regions Bank, investigators discovered fraudulent activity on a second customer's account.
"Low and behold, we went to my Amanda's account, and it was the same type of transactions that were taken out as mine," said Debbie Montgomery, who police said is the first victim in this case. "Not as many (transactions), not as much money, but she did affect her account."
Detective Joey Nickles said the investigation went back seven years, and they discovered more than 1,500 unauthorized transactions totaling "hundreds of thousands of dollars" of money missing from the Montgomerys' accounts.
"Ms. Green would, what I would describe as financially stalk Ms. Montgomery," said Nickles." I believe she did the same thing with the new victim."
Green's attorney, Joe McCulloch, questioned these accusations.
"We are still doing our due diligence, but the bank claims (Green) stole this money in $200-$400 increments," McCulloch said. "That means she would have had to do 1,200-1,400 transactions. We can't believe the bank wouldn't have caught this sooner."
Montgomery said Green befriended her and often sent her friendly text messages. One in particular read, "I'm so glad friends don't come with price tags. I could never afford the wonderful friends I've got."
"I just can't believe that she could look at me every day in the eyes and say, 'Good morning,' and be nice, and I'd bring her coffee and donuts, and to see that she could look me straight in the eye and think, 'Hmm, I'm going to take some money today.' I mean, I just can't believe it. It just makes me sick," said Montgomery.
The investigation suggests Green viewed the Montgomerys' accounts daily and watched the activity for hours.
Nickles credits Regions for helping to uncover the extent of Green's alleged activity.
"This investigation absolutely could not have come to fruition without their assistance and without their intimate knowledge of their systems."
According to Nickles, due to a change in Missouri law and statute of limitations, the criminal charges against Green only consider the amount believed to have been taken between January 2017 and August 2018, which amounts to about $56,000 from the Montgomerys' accounts.
"This isn't your money, you don't take it. You don't treat people like this. When you're with somebody like a bank, you expect them to watch your money and take care of it and not have their employees take advantage of you and your daughter," said Montgomery.
Nickles encourages people to check their bank accounts often for any unusual activity.
Investigators do not believe there are any additional victims.
Regions Bank issued the following statement:
"We continue working closely with the Ellisville Police Department. When we become aware of potential account fraud, either through our own internal controls or reports from our customers, we conduct our own investigation in cooperation with law enforcement. In cases where fraud or theft is confirmed, we reimburse any funds improperly removed from the customer’s account and terminate the employment of the associate responsible."