A Bank of America call centre employee has pleaded guilty to charges that he stole sensitive client information and then tried to sell it for cash.
Brian Matty Hagen pleaded guilty last week to one count of bank fraud. According to court filings he allegedly recorded customer account information when BofA customers called him for technical support at the Florida call center where he worked.
Prosecutors say he focused on high net-worth customers and then unwittingly sold their information to an undercover US Federal Bureau of Investigation agent. Allegedly, he thought that he was going to collect a percentage of the profits from what's known as a credit bust-out scam -- meaning that the information would be used to fraudulently line up new credit with other banks.
Hagen allegedly logged account holders' names, birth dates, addresses and account histories between September 2009 and April 2010. He was supposed to get a 25 percent stake of the profits, court filings state.
One of the customers had his information stolen after calling Hagen to have Netflix automatic payments suspended from his account, prosecutors say. That customer's BofA account contained more than US$444,000.
Hagen allegedly told the FBI agent "that he could get similar information for other BofA customers 'pretty quick,' but would not bother with any account that had less than $100,000 in it," court records state.
It's not clear how many BofA accounts were compromised -- the FBI found details of just a handful of accounts in his possession, prosecutors say.
Neither BofA nor its customers were harmed by Hagen's actions, said his attorney, federal public defender Adam Allen. "Mr Hagen has worked in the banking industry since he was 17 years old and the conduct in this case constitutes an isolated incident for which Brian deeply regrets," he said via e-mail.
The Bank of America could not be reached for comment.
Hagen faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the charges, but with his guilty plea, he is likely to face a much softer sentence.
Hagen's case was reported by local media in Tampa last week.