Sunday, July 18, 1999

Bank goof sends man on spree - temporarily


5/3 calls in FBI to recover money

BY BEN L. KAUFMAN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        An Over-the-Rhine resident who found an unexpected $183,516.11 in his Fifth Third Bank account used some of the windfall to pay for his own funeral, a federal prosecutor says.

        “I don't know why,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney John DiPuccio. “He looks pretty healthy to me.”

        Other purchases included a van, he added.

        Mr. DiPuccio said Fifth Third mistakenly deposited the money in Clyde Benjamin Reed's savings account between Oct. 14 and Feb. 8.

        Mr. Reed withdrew most of it between Christmas and the end of February.

        Fifth Third asked for FBI help in July.

        “It finally dawned on them what happened,” Mr. DiPuccio said, but by then, “He'd spent a lot of it.”

        FBI Agent Kevin P. Gormley said Mr. Reed, 59, of the 1800 block of Race Street, used his Fifth Third account solely to receive and disburse a monthly Social Security check of about $500.

        He said Fifth Third mistakenly deposited another customer's wire transfers of $44,848.25, $15,969.25, and $122,698.61 into Mr. Reed's account.

        Agent Gormley said the FBI confronted Mr. Reed and he eventually helped agents find much of it in accounts in various banks and safe deposit boxes.

        Agent Gormley also said that after questioning, Mr. Reed tried to cash a check, but the financial institution stopped its own $40,000 cashier's check.

        About $50,000 is missing, Mr. DiPuccio said.

        Fifth Third spokeswoman Robbie Jennings would not say how the three deposits went astray or why it took so long to seek FBI help.

        However, she said, “No customer lost any money.”

       



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