A former assistant vice president for M&T Bank in Baltimore has been charged with mail fraud, prosecutors said, after she defrauded a federal export credit agency and an international corporation to pay American Express bills and her taxes.
Rosamaria T. Somarriba is accused of taking more than $223,000 between 2006 and 2011, according to a criminal information filed Dec. 19 in federal court for the District of Maryland.
Somarriba worked in the bank's international trade finance division, according to the court filing. She had been with the bank since 1985 and was terminated this year, the document states.
Somarriba declined to comment when reached by phone Saturday.
M&T participated in a program in which U.S. banks make loans to international companies to buy American goods. The international companies make loan payments directly to the financial institutions. If the company defaults on its loan, the federal government can either make a lump sum payment to the U.S. bank, or continue making loan payments on behalf of the borrower.
The program is run through the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), the federal government's official export credit agency, according to the court filing.
In March 2006, an M&T account was set up for a Mexican corporation referred to in court documents as "Company A." The firm had a loan with M&T that was guaranteed by EXIM.
In October 2007, the company defaulted on the loan, and EXIM started making payments to M&T.
Because of issues with the timing of interest payment amounts, the EXIM payments did not match amounts due on the loan, so excess funds accumulated in the company's account.
Prosecutors say Somarriba made unauthorized transfers from Company A's account to other M&T accounts, including one belonging to a company referred to as "Company B," an international corporation that did not have any loans from the EXIM program.
She then made more than 30 unauthorized debits from Company B's account by taking out money orders and official bank payments, all made payable to American Express, federal prosecutors allege. She also made online payments to American Express with funds derived from EXIM.
In January 2010, she mailed a money order to American Express for more than $6,300, which came from funds from the alleged scheme, according to the charging document.
Additionally, prosecutors allege that Somarriba used money from the account to pay the Internal Revenue Service for her and her husband's personal taxes.