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Ex-banker accused of stealing $495,000

He transferred money from his elderly clients' accounts to his personal account, police said.

© St. Petersburg Times
published October 24, 2002

SEMINOLE -- A former senior vice president at a First Union bank in Seminole is accused of stealing almost $500,000 from eight elderly clients during a two-year period.

Terry S. Chenhall, 54, was arrested Tuesday morning at his Treasure Island home and charged with a felony for scheming to defraud, said Detective Cal Dennie, a spokesman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Chenhall posted bail and was released from jail Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities say Chenhall was a financial officer at First Union, 7700 Seminole Blvd., where he had access to special accounts in which he could transfer funds.

"It was not uncommon for him to move money around," said Detective Michael Nawrocki.

He also dipped into the accounts himself, Nawrocki said, transferring money into his personal account at a Huntington National Bank. The transfers varied from $30,000 to $300,000, Dennie said.

The scheme, which started in October 2000, didn't come to light until August, when a customer's relative discovered a $30,000 deficit in the client's bank account.

Nawrocki said Chenhall told bank officials he had made a mistake and admitted to embezzling $25,000 from the bank. He was fired.

First Union began an internal investigation and learned that Chenhall had stolen much more: $495,000 from eight separate accounts, Nawrocki said.

The bank replaced the stolen funds. Officials are investigating whether Chenhall stole money from more clients.

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