A former Comerica bank branch manager from Newport Beach was sentenced Monday to 41 months in federal prison for stealing more than $1 million from an elderly customer with dementia, and then using it for her own personal expenses, including gambling and buying luxury items.

Marie Fulle, 38, was sentenced via videoconference by U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who also ordered her to pay $1 million in restitution. Fulle pleaded guilty in September 2019 to two counts of bank fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Fulle formerly was a branch manager of a Comerica bank in Tustin. From February 2013 to April 2014, she targeted a vulnerable customer — an elderly man with dementia — and cultivated an exclusive banking relationship with him. Fulle then opened various bank accounts with the victim and used them to create a confusing web in which she could hide unauthorized transfers, and forged withdrawals with cashier’s checks.

Between February 2013 and May 2013, Fulle embezzled about $43,400 over the course of six transactions. After Fulle lost an anticipated promotion at work in May 2013, she began embezzling larger amounts of the victim’s money, unilaterally changing the address for one of the victim’s accounts, which prevented the statements from being delivered to the victim and his bookkeeper.

Fulle manipulated this account for her embezzlement and, after she changed the address, significant amounts of the victim’s money began flowing through it. Fulle also conducted much of the victim’s banking activities one-on-one in private, away from the view of other bank personnel or security cameras.

During the scheme, Fulle used the money she stole from the victim to pay for Tiffany jewelry, at least one Louis Vuitton bag, spa days for herself and her then-boyfriend, and trips to Las Vegas, where she gambled.

Comerica fired Fulle in April 2014 for embezzling money from her cash drawer. When Comerica subsequently discovered the fraud Fulle committed against the victim, it reimbursed the victim nearly $1.3 million for disputed transactions that Fulle processed, lost interest and attorneys’ fees. The total loss that Fulle caused to the victim was $1,057,230. The restitution amount includes the victim’s attorneys’ fees.

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