Federal Reserve Bulletin, Volume 93, 2007 Current Bulletin
Legal Developments: Third Quarter, 2007
Final Enforcement Decision Issued by the Board

Michelle M. Moore, Former Institution-Affiliated Party of RBC Centura Bank, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Respondent

Docket Nos. 06-035-E-1 A, 06-035-B-1

Final Decision

This is an administrative proceeding pursuant to the Federal Deposit Insurance Act ("the FDI Act") in which the Board Enforcement Counsel seeks to prohibit the Respondent, Michelle M. Moore ("Respondent"), from further participation in the affairs of any financial institution and to require her to pay restitution based on actions she took while employed at RBC Centura Bank, Rocky Mount, North Carolina (the "Bank").

Upon review of the administrative record, the Board issues this Final Decision adopting the Recommended Decision ("Recommended Decision") of Administrative Law Judge Ann Z. Cook (the "ALJ"), and orders the issuance of the attached Order of Prohibition and to Cease and Desist.

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I. Statement of the Case

A. Statutory and Regulatory Framework

Under the FDI Act and the Board's regulations, the ALJ is responsible for conducting proceedings on a notice of charges relating to a proposed order requiring payment of restitution or prohibition from banking (12 U.S.C. §§1818(b), 1818(e)(4)). The ALJ issues a recommended decision that is referred to the Board together with any exceptions to those recommendations filed by the parties. The Board makes the final findings of fact, conclusions of law, and determination whether to issue the requested orders (12 CFR 263.38).

The FDI Act sets forth the substantive basis upon which a federal banking agency may issue against a bank official or employee an order of prohibition from further participation in banking. To issue such an order, the Board must make each of three findings: (1) that the respondent engaged in identified misconduct, including a violation of law or regulation, an unsafe or unsound practice, or a breach of fiduciary duty; (2) that the conduct had a specified effect, including financial loss to the institution or gain to the respondent; and (3) that the respondent's conduct involved either personal dishonesty or a willful or continuing disregard for the safety or soundness of the institution (12 U.S.C. §1818(e)(1)(A)-(C)).

The FDI Act also spells out the requirements for an order requiring restitution, which is a type of cease-and-desist order under the Act. Specifically, a cease-and-desist order may be imposed when the agency has reasonable cause to believe that the respondent has engaged or is about to engage in an unsafe or unsound practice in conducting the business of a depository institution, or that the respondent has violated or is about to violate a law, rule, or regulation or condition imposed in writing by the agency (12 U.S.C. §1818(b)(1)). Such an order may require the respondent to make restitution if the respondent was "unjustly enriched" in connection with the violation or practice, or the violation or practice in involved "reckless disregard" of the law or applicable regulations or a prior agency order (12 U.S.C. §1818(b)(6)(A)).

An enforcement proceeding is initiated by filing and serving on the respondent a notice of intent to prohibit. Under the Board's regulations, the respondent must file an answer within 20 days of service of the notice (12 CFR 263.19(a)). Failure to file an answer constitutes a waiver of the respondent's right to contest the allegations in the notice, and a final order may be entered unless good cause is shown for failure to file a timely answer (12 CFR 263.19(c)(1)).

B. Procedural History

On January 5, 2007, the Board issued a Notice of Intent to Prohibit and Notice of Charges and of Hearing ("Notice") that sought an order of prohibition against Respondent based on her conduct while employed at the Bank, and an order requiring her to make restitution to the Bank. A Board investigator, under the direction of Enforcement Counsel, personally served the Notice on Respondent on January 19, 2007. Respondent acknowledged that she had received the Notice in two subsequent voice mail messages to Enforcement Counsel. The Notice directed Respondent to file a written answer within 20 days of the date of service of the Notice in accordance with 12 CFR 263.19, and warned that failure to do so would constitute a waiver of her right to appear and contest the allegations. Nonetheless, Respondent failed to file an answer within the 20-day period or thereafter.

On March 29, 2007, Enforcement Counsel filed a Motion for Entry of an Order of Default against Respondent. On April 12, 2007, the ALJ issued an Order to Show Cause, providing Respondent until May 1, 2007, to file an answer to the Notice and to show good cause for having failed to do so previously. The Order was delivered by overnight delivery to Respondent's address. To date, Respondent has not filed any reply to the Order to Show Cause or answered the Notice.

C. Respondent's Actions

The Notice alleges that Respondent was employed as a teller and then a Customer Service Officer for Bank from May 2001 through May 2004. Her duties included overseeing the balancing of other tellers' cash supply and accounting for cash at the branch at which she worked. By virtue of her position, she had access to the cash drawers and cash vault of the branch. By using that access, Respondent was able make unauthorized withdrawals of over $66,000 from an account of one customer, using the proceeds for her own purposes. She concealed her activity by changing the address field for statements so that the statements no longer were sent to the customer's home. When the customer noticed she was no longer receiving statements, she spoke to Respondent about the problem. Respondent subsequently sent a letter on Bank letterhead falsely informing the customer that the account contained over $107,000, when in fact its funds were reduced by the amounts that Respondent had stolen. Shortly thereafter, Respondent made an unauthorized withdrawal from another customer's account and deposited the proceeds into the account of the first customer. Within a few weeks, however, the defalcation in the first customer's account was discovered by another Bank employee, and Respondent abruptly resigned. The Bank restored its customers' accounts for the amounts embezzled by Respondent, and froze Respondent's personal account at Bank. As a result of these actions, Bank's total loss was approximately $59,823.53.

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II. Discussion

The Board Rules of Practice and Procedure set forth the requirements of an answer and the consequences of a failure to file an answer to a Notice. Under the Rules, failure to file a timely answer "constitutes a waiver of [a respondent's] right to appear and contest the allegations in the notice" (12 CFR 263.19(c)). If the ALJ finds that no good cause has been shown for the failure to file, the judge "shall file . . . a recommended decision containing the findings and the relief sought in the notice." Id. An order based on a failure to file a timely answer is deemed to be issued by consent. Id.

In this case, Respondent failed to file an answer to the Notice despite notice to her of the consequences of such failure, and also failed to respond to the ALJ's Order to Show Cause. Respondent's failure to file an answer constitutes a default.

Respondent's default requires the Board to consider the allegations in the Notice as uncontested. The allegations in the Notice, described above, meet all the criteria for entry of an order of prohibition under 12 U.S.C. §1818(e). It was a breach of fiduciary duty, unsafe and unsound practice, and violation of law or regulation, for Respondent to make unauthorized withdrawals from customers' accounts and to use Bank systems to conceal her actions. Respondent's actions resulted in loss to the Bank and financial gain to the Respondent, in that the Respondent used the proceeds for her own purposes and the Bank was forced to repay its customers for the amounts embezzled by Respondent. Finally, such actions also exhibit personal dishonesty and willful disregard for the safety and soundness of the Bank.

For the same reasons, the allegations in the Notice meet all the criteria for the entry of an order requiring restitution. Respondent engaged in an unsafe or unsound practice and a violation of law when she made unauthorized withdrawals from customers' accounts, and she was unjustly enriched by her actions in that she used the proceeds of her defalcation for her own purposes.

Accordingly, the requirements for an order of prohibition and for an order for restitution have been met and the Board hereby issues such an order.

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For these reasons, the Board orders the issuance of the attached Order of Prohibition and Order to Cease and Desist.

By Order of the Board of Governors, this ninth day of July, 2007.


Jennifer J. Johnson
Secretary of the Board

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Order of Prohibition and to Cease and Desist

WHEREAS, pursuant to sections 8(b) and 8(e) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, as amended, (the "FDI Act") (12 U.S.C. §1818(b) and (e)), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ("the Board") is of the opinion, for the reasons set forth in the accompanying Final Decision, that a final Order of Prohibition and to Cease and Desist should issue against MICHELLE M. MOORE ("Moore"), a former employee and institution-affiliated party, as defined in Section 3(u) of the FDI Act (12 U.S.C. §1813(u)), of RBC Centura Bank, Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, pursuant to section 8(e) of the FDI Act, 12 U.S.C. §1818(e), that:

  1. In the absence of prior written approval by the Board, and by any other Federal financial institution regulatory agency where necessary pursuant to section 8(e)(7)(B) of the FDI Act (12 U.S.C. §1818(e)(7)(B)), Moore is hereby prohibited:
    1. from participating in any manner in the conduct of the affairs of any institution or agency specified in section 8(e)(7)(A) of the FDI Act (12 U.S.C. §1818(e)(7)(A)), including, but not limited to, any insured depository institution, any insured depository institution holding company or any U.S. branch or agency of a foreign banking organization;
    2. from soliciting, procuring, transferring, attempting to transfer, voting or attempting to vote any proxy, consent or authorization with respect to any voting rights in any institution described in subsection 8(e)(7)(A) of the FDI Act (12 U.S.C. §1818(e)(7)(A));
    3. from violating any voting agreement previously approved by any Federal banking agency; or
    4. from voting for a director, or from serving or acting as an institution-affiliated party as defined in section 3(u) of the FDI Act (12 U.S.C. §1813(u)), such as an officer, director, or employee in any institution described in section 8(e)(7)(A) of the FDI Act (12 U.S.C. §1818(e)(7)(A)).
  2. On or before the effective date of this Order, Moore shall make restitution to the Bank in the sum of $59,823.53 for its loss as a result of Moore's violations and unsafe or unsound practices.
  3. Any violation of this Order shall separately subject Moore to appropriate civil or criminal penalties or both under section 8 of the FDI Act (12 U.S.C. §1818).
  4. This Order, and each and every provision hereof, is and shall remain fully effective and enforceable until expressly stayed, modified, terminated or suspended in writing by the Board.

This Order shall become effective at the expiration of 30 days after service is made.

By Order of the Board of Governors, this ninth day of July, 2007.


Jennifer J. Johnson
Secretary of the Board

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