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ARTICLE ID 188527

$________ AWARD Fraud – Negligent banking – Failure to protect plaintiff from embezzlement – Company funds diverted into separate account by bookkeeper.

Broward County, FL

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant bank was negligent in allowing the plaintiff’s former bookkeeper to divert company checks into the bookkeeper’s own corporate account. The former bookkeeper and the corporation she started settled the plaintiff’s claims prior to trial. The defendant bank argued that it was the plaintiff’s own lack of internal controls which allowed the embezzlement scheme to occur.

The plaintiff, a Fort Lauderdale business, banked with the defendant bank. Evidence showed that, over the course of years, the plaintiff’s former office manager/bookkeeper embezzled more than $________ from the plaintiff. The bookkeeper took checks coming into the plaintiff company, did not place the plaintiff’s company endorsement stamp on them, but deposited them into her own corporate account which was also in the defendant bank.

The bookkeeper was ultimately arrested and made partial restitution to the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant bank violated state banking laws and breached a fiduciary duty to the plaintiff by allowing the plaintiff’s checks to be placed in a different account. The defendant bank argued that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent and failed to utilize internal controls which would have discovered the embezzlement. In addition, the defense maintained that a portion of the plaintiff’s claim was precluded by the applicable four year statute of limitations.The case was tried as a bench trial. The court found for the defendant on the statute of limitations defense and limited the plaintiff’s damages to four years. The plaintiff was awarded approximately $________ in damages. Post-trial motions are pending.

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