A longtime employee of Chase Bank in Imperial Beach was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly customers.
Leona Parsons worked as a private banker at the Chase Bank on Palm Avenue while she systematically stole incremental amounts of money from four elder victims.
Parsons would help her victims fill out deposit slips, inflating the withdrawal amount and keeping the difference.
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"I went to the bank and I met Leona and I really loved her," victim Marie Shirley Mussman said in court Wednesday.
In over 85 transactions, Parsons stole $300K from her victims’ life savings.
“There was a grooming period and a trust that was built over many years,” explained Elder Abuse Prosecutor Scott Pirrello.
Pirrello said Parsons would go to great lengths to build a trust with the victims – running errands, visiting a sick spouse in the hospital or even attending their friends’ funerals.
"She called me every night on her way home," said victim Leroy Edwards.
As a result of the grooming, the clients believed they could trust Parsons.
"Always my husband went to her because she was very nice. Very nice with him," said victim Maria-Elena O'Hara.
Investigators were tipped off about Parsons after an adult daughter was looking at the bank statement of her 90-year-old father and found a $9,000 withdrawal.
She was convicted of six counts of theft from an elder, forgery and identity theft.
At her sentencing hearing, Parsons spoke briefly and expressed remorse for her crime.
"Words cannot express how sorry I am," she told the court.
The judge faced the option of probation or prison when he sentenced her to 3 years and 8 months behind bars.
Parsons was led from the courtroom in handcuffs.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Pirrello said there could be more victims in this case. If anyone suspects they have been a victim of Parsons, they can contact San Diego Sheriff’s Detective Michael Proffitt at (858) 285-6111.