Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Lawyers association sues Bank of America


The Maine Trial Lawyers Association has filed a lawsuit against Bank of America related to its role in a former employee's alleged embezzlement.

In the suit, the Augusta-based nonprofit association says Bank of America's online services allowed former administrative assistant Bettysue Higgins to hide her alleged theft of $166,000, according to the Portland Press Herald. The association claims Bank of America allowed Higgins to set up online banking even though she was not authorized by the group to do so, and cashed forged checks written out to her even though she was not an authorized signatory. The suit seeks damages from breach of contract, breach of good faith and negligence. The bank has denied improper procedure and says the claim is barred by statute of limitations, according to the paper.

From 2006 to 2010, Higgins allegedly forged Executive Director Steven Prince's signature on 220 unauthorized checks. She has pleaded not guilty to theft and forgery, and her criminal case is pending; however, the association successfully sued her and won a judgment of a little more than $170,000. Higgins was fired last October, and faces a maximum of 10 years in jail on each of the two criminal charges if convicted. Her next court date for the criminal case is June 7.


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