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More elderly victims, more charges in Tarpon Springs bank theft case

TARPON SPRINGS — An investigation into a former Bank of America account representative who police say fleeced senior citizens out of tens of thousands of dollars has turned up more victims.

Jennifer Wise Trembath, who was an account representative with the authority to open and service accounts, was arrested Sept. 15 at her New Port Richey home and charged with two counts of exploitation of the elderly.

Wednesday evening, Tarpon Springs police said there weren't just two victims, but six.

That brought the number of charges against Trembath to nine and the amount stolen to $232,500.

Detective Sgt. Michael Trill said it appears that Trembath did one of two things.

Sometimes, she partially cashed out certificates of deposit belonging to other people and deposited the proceeds in a business account linked to her Fort Peck Road home address.

Other times, she completely wiped out CDs. Whatever she didn't pocket, she credited to accounts that she'd already hijacked.

On at least a couple of occasions, victims confronted her with questions. To cover her trail, Trill said, Trembath dipped into other CDs and put the money into the curious victims' accounts.

"She was basically robbing Peter to pay Paul so she wouldn't get caught," Trill said.

Trembath became the focus of a police investigation when security officials at the bank, 901 E Tarpon Ave., reported their suspicions to law enforcement earlier this month, Capt. Jeffrey P. Young said.

They discovered that Trembath forged internal forms and had taken money from the accounts of at least two people older than 70 since November 2009.

In the week since Trembath's arrest, police have revealed additional victims. The youngest was 63 years old. The oldest was 88.

Police don't know why Trembath, 24, stole from them.

The business that benefited from Trembath's deceit does not appear to be legitimate, Trill said.

"I don't have any information (as to) whether she made any statements at this point," he said.

Bank of America spokeswoman Christina Toth said last week that Trembath is no longer employed at the company.

She had been in the Pasco County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail since Sept. 15. But on Tuesday, authorities moved her to the Pinellas County Jail. With the additional scheme to defraud charges, her bail has now been set at $440,000.

Rodney Thrash can be reached at rthrash@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4167.

More elderly victims, more charges in Tarpon Springs bank theft case 09/22/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 8:57pm]
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