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Local bank manager arrested for raiding account of dead client

Pa Vue of Boring also accused of taking $12,000 from her bank's vault

A bank branch manager from Boring faces accusations of aggravated theft and identity theft after allegedly trying to drain $35,000 from an account belonging to a dead customer.by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - Pa Vue

Pa Houa Vue, 40, was working as a bank manager in Vancouver when the alleged embezellment took place last fall, said Gresham Police Department Detective Brandon Crate.

It took five months to arrest Vue, however, because she fled to California, Crate said. Acting on a tip that she was home, police contacted the U.S. Marshal's Office, which set up surveillance, and at noon Friday, May 24, arrested Vue at her home at 9271 S.E. 282nd Ave.

Vue is being held at the Multnomah County Inverness Jail on felony charges of aggravated identity theft and aggravated theft. She also is on a no-bond hold pending extradition to Clark County, Wash., for other cases, including the theft of $12,000 from her bank's vault for which another employee was fired.

Crate said the case began on Oct. 22, 2012, when Vue was employed as the branch manager for Washington Federal Bank in Vancouver, and she went to the bank's branch in Gresham to inquire about cashing out certificates of deposit held by one of her customers in Vancouver.

She then appeared to consult with her client over the phone and told staff to go ahead and close the account.

The bank issued Vue a check for $35,079.44, which she deposited into a joint checking account that she shares with her husband, according to the police investigation.

Vue then went to a bank in Boring and withdrew $18,000 — of that $13,000 was in the form of a cashier's check and $5,000 in cash.

Police said she aroused suspicions of bank employees, who placed a hold on the remaining $17,000 in order to verify the account.

Staff consulted with the Gresham branch where Vue deposited the money, but staff assured them that Vue was a longtime customer who had ample money in her other accounts to cover the transaction if there was a problem with it.

Meanwhile, back at the Vancouver bank where Vue worked as branch manager, a fellow coworker was trying to track down the survivors of an account whose holder had died. The hope was to turn over the account's proceeds to the account holder's beneficiaries.

Vue's coworker was stunned to discover that the $35,000 account had been closed in Gresham, and that the branch manager, Vue, closed it.

A stop-payment order was placed on the check and the police notified. The banks that gave Vue cash and the cashier's check recovered the embezzled amount from her other accounts, Crate added.

While investigating the case, Crate discovered that in August 2012, $12,000 in cash disappeared from her bank's vault in Vancouver.

Vue conducted an investigation as branch manager that resulted in a coworker being fired for the theft.

Vue also worked as a branch manager for another bank, where $3,000 disappeared from the vault over two months in 2011. She was terminated for "policy violations," Crate said.

After police arrested Vue, she reportedly admitted to nearly all of the crimes, except the theft of $1,000 in 2011, Crate said.

Vue, who has six children ranging from age 9 to 23, and claimed to have an ill father in California, said financial problems drove her to it.

That's no excuse, said Grace McKnight, a 21-year-old Vancouver woman who was fired when that $12,000 went missing from the Washington Federal Bank in Vancouver where McKnight worked.

"I watched the money like a bull dog," she said. "It killed me not knowing what happened to it."

Now she knows and hopes Vue is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

"I just don't want her to be able to bury this," she said. "I don't ever want her to work in a bank and be able to put someone else in the situation she put me in."

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