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Prominent Oakland Banker Charged With Swindling Clients For $1.4M

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A veteran banker who heads a merchant association in Oakland’s upscale Montclair neighborhood has been charged with swindling at least five clients out of more than $1.4 million.

Linda Sue Foss, 62, was arrested on May 10 and is being held in custody in lieu of $1.7 million bail.

She is charged with 20 felony counts including grand theft, money laundering, elder financial abuse and misapplication of bank funds.

Alameda County District Attorney Inspector Ron Miller said in a probable cause statement filed in court that he began investigating Foss, who is president of the Montclair Village Association, earlier this year after representatives from U.S. Bank and First Republic Bank said they were probing possible thefts from at least five elderly customers.

Miller said Foss had been the branch manager at the U.S. Bank branch on Mountain Boulevard in Oakland, where she was hired in 1983. He said she is accused of embezzling money from two of the bank’s elderly customers who were “long term friends” of hers.

In one case, a certificate of deposit valued at more than $972,000 had dwindled to about $353,000, according to Miller.

He wrote that when the bank’s investigators questioned Foss about some of the missing money, Foss claimed that one elder was paying the other elder back for funds that had been borrowed after the Oakland hills fire in 1991.

However, Miller said the elderly victim told investigators that she never borrowed money from the other elderly client.

U.S. Bank fired Foss in March but she was immediately hired by First Republic Bank to become a branch manager, according to Miller.

First Republic Bank’s investigators soon discovered that Foss took more than $164,000 from a customer and gave that money to a former U.S. Bank client to hide an earlier theft, Miller wrote.

Miller said Foss additionally removed $15,000 from another First Republic Bank customer’s account, also as a repayment to a U.S. Bank customer for money that had been taken.

Miller alleged that Foss “used the trust and confidence from her client base as well as her clients’ personal banking information” to defraud customers out of more than $1,423,577.

He said, “Investigators are currently working to determine if there are more victims and the scope of the loss.”

Foss, who is being held at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on June 27 for a pretrial hearing.

The Montclair Village Association’s website says Foss currently is on leave from her post as its president.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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