Charlotte Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Bank Fraud Scheme
CHARLOTTE, NC—Today, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. sentenced Jerry Lee Grier, Jr., 38, of Charlotte to 12 years in prison in connection with his scheme to defraud Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (Wells Fargo) and for violating the terms of his supervised release, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Grier, who pleaded guilty in June 2015 to one count of bank fraud, was also ordered to pay $100,800 in restitution to Wells Fargo and to serve five years of supervised release following his release from prison.
U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division.
According to filed court documents and court proceedings, from December 2014 through April 2015, Grier engaged in a scheme to defraud Wells Fargo by fraudulently obtaining customer account information and using such information to conduct unlawful cash withdrawals and transactions. According to court documents, after obtaining the customer account information, Grier would contact Wells Fargo bank tellers and other employees located in Charlotte and elsewhere via cell phone and use the sensitive customer account information to impersonate legitimate Wells Fargo customers, often falsely claiming to be seeking assistance in accessing and transferring cash to various accounts. Grier used a variety of lies to induce the unlawful transfer of monies, for example, by telling Wells Fargo employees that he was in urgent need for cash because of an emergency. According to court documents Grier was arrested after conducting one such fraudulent withdrawal of $22,000 at a Wells Fargo branch in Norfolk, Virginia.
In handing down the 12 year sentence, Judge Conrad noted that Grier’s criminal fraud history was “unmatched by any fraud defendant” seen by the Court and that such history reflected an “extraordinary pattern of fraudulent activity” that had been undeterred by prior prison sentences. Judge Conrad found that Grier’s three prior federal bank fraud convictions, in addition to today’s federal bank fraud conviction, coupled with the multitude of his other state fraud convictions, caused significant harm to victims and demonstrated Grier’s complete and utter disregard for the law. Judge Conrad stressed that a paramount consideration in determining the sentence was the need to protect the public from Grier’s further criminal activity.
Grier has been in federal custody since April 2015, when he was arrested for violating the terms of his supervised release arising from his 2011 federal bank fraud conviction. He will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
U.S. Attorney Rose credited the FBI for the investigation leading to today’s sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark T. Odulio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.