Back in early 2010, a Nigerian man named Benjamin Onweni dumped some $2 million into a couple of accounts he'd just opened at a local Chase branch. When banker Carlos Lavin Ibarra learned of Onweni's death later that year, he was supposed to inform the bank.
Evidently he didn't. Instead, Ibarra siphoned money from the dead man's account, buying nearly $800,000 worth of cashier's checks. Ibarra, who pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of bank fraud last summer, was sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison yesterday.
According to court records, Onweni's widow told Ibarra about the Nigerian man's death, but Ibarra didn't tell the bank. Instead he wrote cashier's checks out to various people he knew and deposited the money in different bank accounts across the city.
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Onweni's widow, Immaculate Onweni, sued Chase in 2011 for breach of contract after her husband's money mysteriously went missing. In that lawsuit, she claims the bank initially accused her son and a family friend of embezzling the money.