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Former Wells Fargo employee sentenced after swindling elderly man out of $800K

MINT HILL, N.C. — A former Wells Fargo employee who posed as a financial adviser and scammed an elderly man out of $800,000 will spend 2 1/2 years in prison.

Michael Filipidis, 24, pleaded guilty in federal court in October 2019 to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.

Court documents stated that while Filipidis worked at a Wells Fargo call center in Mint Hill he pretended to be a financial adviser and tricked an elderly man into handing over account information.

Between December 2018 and February 2019, Filipidis stole more than $800,000 of the victim’s funds for his personal use, according to documents.

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Officials said once Filipidis had the victim's information, he opened brokerage accounts using his own phone number and email as the contact and made himself the beneficiary.

According to court documents, he then transferred money from the victim's new account and life insurance policies to bank accounts that he controlled.

To make sure the victim didn't receive any notifications about what he was doing, court documents state Filipidis changed the mailing address, email and phone number on all the victim’s Wells Fargo accounts to his own information.

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In a letter addressed to the court, the victim wrote he thought Filipidis was a bright up and coming brokerage employee when he merely worked in a call center.

Prosecutors caught Filipidis after several red flags when he tried to transfer large sums of money at $180,000 a pop.

Filipidis gave a tearful apology to the elderly man. The victim told Channel 9′s Anthony Kustura that he forgave Filipidis.

The judge made clear in his sentencing remarks, we live in a bustling banking town and if employees take advantage of their customers, there will be consequences.

His sentence, 2 1/2 years, is still light, given that Filipidis faced a maximum of 20 years just for the wire fraud charge alone.

Channel 9′s Blaine Tolison was outside the courtroom in October when Filipidis walked out after taking a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Tolison asked Filipidis why he would take the life savings of a senior citizen, but his attorney wouldn’t let him answer the question.

Now, nearly all of the $800,000 has been recovered.

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