A former Wells Fargo financial adviser in California faces up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to aggravated identity theft amid charges of stealing $158,000 from two clients of the bank.
Tyler Rigsbee, 32, of Folsom, Calif., worked at Wells Fargo in Sacramento from 2016 to 2021, according to his BrokerCheck filing. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California said that while employed at a major bank, known as Wells, he stole $158,000 from the bank accounts of two clients and attempted to replenish the funds with the assets of a third client.
“Rigsbee stole this money by moving it from client accounts to brokerage accounts he set up at E-Trade, a third-party financial institution,” the Justice Department said in a news release announcing the settlement. Rigsbee’s plea. “He then transferred the money from these brokerage accounts to his own personal bank account. Rigsbee also tried to cover up his scheme by partially replacing some of what he stole from one of these bank customers. with money he withdrew from the account of a third bank customer.
When a bank client died in August 2018, the plea agreement states that Rigsbee created and notarized a fraudulent request for distribution of eligible assets from a death transfer account, using the name of the client’s nephew, who was on the beneficiary list. on the account at Wells Fargo. That March 2019 request directed $113,000 in assets to the E-Trade account, which was in the nephew’s name, but Rigsbee controlled, according to the agreement.
“Rigsbee then transferred the funds from this brokerage account to his own personal bank account at [Wells Fargo]“, says the plea agreement.
For the second client, who was elderly, Rigsbee created a fraudulent account at E-Trade that the client was unaware of, then falsely claimed to be that client and used the client’s name, the DOJ said. In this case, Rigsbee transferred $45,800 from the client’s Wells Fargo account to the fraudulent E-Trade account and then to his own personal bank account at Wells. Rigsbee implicated a third client when he attempted to replace funds he had taken from the second client. The third client, also elderly, had also created a fake E-Trade account in his name, and after moving assets here, Rigsbee attempted to replenish what had been lost in the second client’s account.
The DOJ did not say when the money was taken from the accounts of the second and third clients.
Wells Fargo fired Rigsbee in April 2021, according to BrokerCheck. According to the plea agreement, the bank returned the customers whole and bore the brunt of the loss.
“Rigsbee faces a mandatory two-year prison sentence and a maximum legal fine of up to $250,000 or twice gross gain or gross loss, the DOJ said, though it added that the sentence would be left to the discretion of the court.
Rigsbee was banned by the Financial Sector Regulatory Authority in July 2021 when it said he refused to provide documents requested by the agency relating to rule violations. The agency was following up on Wells Fargo’s termination notice for Rigsbee, which addressed wrongful transfers.
A spokesperson for Thomas A. Johnson, Rigsbee’s Sacramento-based attorney, said the firm was unable to comment before press time.
Rigsbee is scheduled to appear for the first time on October 5 before Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman.