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Former Banker Jailed for Stealing $83,775 from Wells Fargo

September 18, 2017

Contact: Marc J. Furber, 215.348.6339, mjfurber@buckscounty.org

Christine Bate
      Christine Bate

An 11-year Wells Fargo Bank employee was sentenced today to serve nine to 23 months in the Bucks County Correctional Facility for stealing almost $84,000 from her branch over a two-year period.

Christine Ann Bate, 40, admitted stealing $7,195 from the vault of the Tullytown Wells Fargo branch, and $76,580 from the branch’s two ATM machines. She then falsified entries into bank computer programs to try to hide her thefts.

Her crimes also led to the firings of seven co-workers. At the time of the thefts, Bate was service manager of the branch, and when tellers began noticing shortages to cash bundles in the vault, Bate told them to disregard the shortfalls, or that she was working on the issue.

Because they followed Bate’s directions instead of following the bank’s dual control procedures, each of the seven tellers was fired, court records said.

“Their careers are ruined or substantially [harmed] by what you did or what you told them to do,” Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge James M. McMaster told Bate. “I think not imposing at least some time in jail would totally ignore the impact that your crimes have had on the community, the bank and your co-workers.”

McMaster also imposed a consecutive 16 years and eight months of probation, 1,000 hours of community service, and ordered Bate to repay all of the $83,775 she had stolen. She came to court with a $10,000 cashier’s check as her first payment.

Bate told McMaster she began stealing bank funds out of desperation. She said her now-estranged husband was unemployed, drank heavily and abused her, and that she lacked the money to support her three children on her bank salary alone. 

Too ashamed to ask her parents for help, Bate said, she stole from the bank with the intent of paying it back later.

“In my mind I thought I was solving a short-term problem, but in reality I turned it into a long-term problem,” she said. “I went against all the morals and values I have tried to teach my three children.”

Bate’s current fiancé, Richard  Brandau, a real estate investor, told McMaster he would help Bate to repay her debt within three years. “I’m a forgiving person,” Brandau said, calling Bate “an awesome mother” who “knows she did wrong.”

Deputy District Attorney Marc J. Furber argued against a mitigated sentence, noting that Bate’s thefts spanned more than two years, that she caused her co-workers to lose their jobs, and that she used the stolen money not just for household necessities, but also for trips, entertainment and other indulgences.

“She was able to live the life she wanted to on Wells Fargo’s money,” Furber said.

The case was investigated by Bucks County Detective Eric Landamia.

Approved for release by Thomas C. Gannon, Deputy District Attorney.

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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