Parkesburg Councilman charged with bank embezzlement

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Anthony Rife

A Parkesburg Borough Council Member faces charges that he embezzled more than $100,000 from clients of the Downingtown National Bank branch he managed, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said Tuesday.

Hogan’s announced the arrest of Anthony Rife, the branch manager of Downingtown National Bank and a Parkesburg Borough Council member, for allegedly embezzling more than $100,000 from bank clients. The embezzlement reportedly included accounts for a special needs individual and a dead man.

“People trust bank employees to handle their money with integrity,” Hogan said. “The defendant violated that trust and abused his authorityNow he will pay the price for his greed.”

Rife, 38, was employed as the branch manager for the Ludwig’s Comer branch of Downingtown National Bank (“DNB”). He also serves as a member of the Parkesburg Borough Council. He is a resident of Parkesburg.

According to investigators, officials from DNB contacted the Chester County Detectives to report a potential theft by Rife. DNB had allegedly been alerted to the theft by a customer. Chester County Detective Keith Cowdright investigated and reported discovering a complex theft scheme by the defendant.

Rife served as the branch manager at the Ludwig’s Corner DNB location, and also worked at a location in Exton. In 2015,  Rife reportedly handled opening a checking and savings account which was part of a trust for a special needs family member (the “Trust Accounts”). He then handled all of the later transactions for the Trust Accounts.

In July of 2017, a family member of the Trust Accounts noticed that approximately $20,000 appeared to be missing. That family member tried to contact Rife, who was out of the office. Another DNB employee looked into the matter in the defendant’s absence, and the whole scheme unraveled.

Investigators said that a detailed forensic review of the Rife’s activities revealed how he had been allegedly stealing money from eight different victims.

Investigators said that he used the trust accounts as the primary vehicle for his thefts. Rife reportedly accessed the accounts of the other victims and transferred money from those accounts to the trust accounts to conceal the money he had previously taken out of the trust accounts. Rife allegedly created a complex web of transactions both to access money and cover up his activities. The defendant even allegedly activated the dormant account of Richard Baker, a dead man, as part of his scheme.

In total, Rife is alleged to have stolen $118,771.18 from the eight victims. DNB terminated his employment.

Rife was charged with theft, forgery, and related crimes. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 12, 2018. He currently is free on $75,000 unsecured bail.

“DNB did an excellent job working with the District Attorney’s Office to investigate this complex scheme after it was discovered,” Hogan said. “A determined insider is always a threat to engage in fraud because of their knowledge of internal operations. But sooner or later, these schemes are discovered and prosecuted.”

Assistant District Attorney Ryan Borchik has been assigned to prosecute this case. Chester County Detective Keith Cowdright is the primary investigator .

Anybody with information about the defendant should contact Detective Cowdright at (610) 3446866.

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