KeyCorp Bank Embezzlement Case Baffling

Security experts left wondering how employee can steal $29M wiithout someone asking questions


Other local banks, meanwhile, said Tuesday that they have various security procedures that should deter fraud or embezzlement - even by the chief executive.

"You have checks at every level," said Monica Martines, spokeswoman at Third Federal Savings in Cleveland. "It should be very hard for someone to do something by himself without other people involved. Somebody is always checking."

One small policy practiced by Third Federal and some other banks: Employees who handle money or accounts must take their vacation in a block that's at least one week long. The reasoning: If they're running a scam, it might be detected if they are away from the office for a week.

National City Bank has numerous stringent security procedures that serve as checks and balances on employees, said spokeswoman Kelly Wagner Amen. She declined to provide details, citing security. "Many of our practices are unique to National City," she said.

Key said Tuesday it has made certain changes to Verhotz's accounts and passwords to prevent anyone - whether Verhotz or any cohort - from accessing anything. "All of that has been blocked," Monroe said.

The FBI said it's up to Key whether to change future procedures. For now, said Jack Sammon of the U.S. attorney's office, "Key is working around the clock to make sure their assets are protected."

Authorities are also freezing Verhotz's assets in hopes of recovering the money they say he stole. All but $4 million to $8 million has been accounted for.

According to divorce court records, he earned $110,280 last year with a $25,000 bonus. He contributed $6,500 a year to his 401(k), and his retirement accounts are worth $318,444.

Verhotz and his ex-wife, Sharon, married in 1981 and had four children, two now grown. She works as a public health nurse.

Verhotz was ordered to pay her $1,040 a month in child support and $1,025 in alimony.

In a transcript from a May 27, 2005, hearing regarding support, her lawyer said David Verhotz "spends a considerable amount of time with a female companion in New York City on weekends." He moved out of the family home in Hudson in December 2004.

Plain Dealer news researcher JoEllen Corrigan contributed to this story.