For release on July 19, 2012
Cherie Bourlard, Deputy District Attorney
Elder and Dependent Adult Financial Abuse Unit
BANK MANAGER AND HUSBAND PLEAD GUILTY TO STEALING FROM ELDERLY CLIENT A JP Morgan Chase Bank Manager and her husband were convicted Thursday, July 19, 2012, of scamming a 97-year-old man out of $1.1 million in life savings. Bank Manager Christina Bray befriended the banking client and pretended to manage his financial affairs. Instead, she and her husband spent the victim’s money on luxury cars and liposuction. Bray, 30, and her unemployed husband, Jimmy Bray, 39, of San Jose, pleaded guilty to several counts of felony elder theft. Jimmy Bray was also convicted of being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm. Christina Bray will receive six years in prison and Jimmy Bray will receive eight years in prison when they are sentenced on Sept. 4, 2012. “Elderly people rely on bankers to carefully watch over their life savings,’’ prosecutor Cherie Bourlard said. “The Brays criminally used this vulnerable gentleman as their ATM.” A retired handyman, the nearly deaf and blind San Jose victim met the manager in 2011 while banking at JP Morgan Chase Bank. Christina Bray handled all of his banking needs while isolating him from other bank employees. She told people she was his niece. She and her husband drove him to appointments. Meanwhile, the bank manager withdrew cashier’s checks from the victim’s accounts without his knowledge.
With the victim’s stolen funds, the couple bought a $95,000 Mercedes Benz and an Escalade. They deposited $25,000 towards liposuction and $30,000 cash for rent on a San Jose home. They spent over $50,000 on jewelry. Other purchases included flat screen TVs and Cartier watches. Over a period of five months, the bank manager transferred out of the victim’s JP Morgan Chase Bank account about $718,000, and opened up a joint account with the money at Comerica Bank under the name of the victim and her husband. After Jimmy Bray made a large cash withdrawal, a suspicious Comerica Bank employee notified Adult Protective Services. At about the same time, the victim’s real niece called the District Attorney’s Office, which froze the remaining assets in the account. When DA Investigator Dennis Brookins first met with the elderly victim, the victim had no idea that his two “friends” were stealing his money. He stated that he saw Christina as his “mother” but never authorized them to take his money or knew they had transferred his life savings to an account at a different bank. As Brookins interviewed the victim, the couple arrived at the victim’s house in their new Mercedes to take the victim to the bank to withdraw the remaining assets. Instead, they were arrested. Following the arrest, vehicles and other assets were seized. After notifying JP Morgan Chase Bank of the crime, the bank immediately credited back to the victim’s account the swindled money. The couple will be ordered to pay the remaining restitution to Chase Bank. The victim has since passed away. ###