A Michigan bank teller is under fire for allegedly stealing nearly $110,000 from a man’s savings account just days after his unexpected death.
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Michelle Renee Crouch has been charged with felony larceny of more than $20,000 and felony identity theft after police say she stole money from deceased 57-year-old Kevin Bolema’s account.
Bolema reportedly died during a fishing trip with friends just last year.
An even more disturbing part of the situation is that Crouch attended Bolema’s funeral and introduced herself as his “friend” to his family and 81-year-old mother.
His family later discovered his savings account had been completely wiped out. Crouch claims that Bolema had authorized an emergency loan before he left for his fishing trip.
“It's kind of an odd situation. She's saying she had a really good relationship (as a friend) with the victim in this case, helping him organize his house, helping him out,” Crouch’s attorney Matthew Kacel told Michigan Live.
“She was having trouble with her mortgage. He said, 'I'll lend you money for a mortgage, just pay me back,’” he added. Crouch and Kacel maintain that the ironic timing is just a coincidence.
The prosecutors, however, allege that Crouch illegally used Bolema’s personal identity information on file at the bank to scam the money.
Rhonda Bolema, the victim’s sister, doesn’t believe Crouch’s story. She claims her brother was very intelligent and had a fear of identity theft so he always handled banking matters carefully and face-to-face.
“He was not a stupid man,” she told Michigan Live. “There's no way my brother ever said that.”
The money was eventually moved back into Bolema’s account by the bank after being reimbursed by insurance; however, Rhonda says the whole ordeal caused additional pain to her family who was already suffering from her brother’s passing.
“Technically it's a nonviolent crime, but it's devastating nonetheless,” she said.
Crouch faces up to 10 years in prison if she’s convicted of the felony charges against her.
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