Monday, April 22, 2013

Bank of Granite facing lawsuit after fraudulent wire transfer

A couple weeks back, I wrote about a legal battle between Charlotte-based Park Sterling Bank and a local law firm over who should bear the loss after criminals sent more than $300,000 in a fraudulent wire transfer to Russia.

Well, court documents show that another local bank -- Bank of Granite -- is facing the exact same thing joining the ranks of small banks around the country now facing these kinds of suits.

First Security Co., a Hickory-based insurance company, has sued the bank claiming that its lax security procedures allowed cyber-criminals to make off with hundreds of thousands of dollars through a series of wire transfers.

A total of $726,483.38 was taken out of First Security's account through a series of three wire transfers in November, the suit states.

Despite the unusual activity -- more than $500,000 went to Raohe Hongdawantong Int Trade Co. despite First Security not doing any overseas business, Bank of Granite did not notify the company until it overdrew its accounts, the suit states. First Security didn't know about the wire transfers until getting an "insufficient fudns" notice in the mail a few days later, the company claims.

The case was recently moved to N.C. Business Court, which covers complex cases.

Bank of Granite has been owned by Asheboro-based FNB United since a 2011 deal that combined and recapitalized both banks. FNB is now working to merge its subsidiary -- CommunityOne Bank -- with Bank of Granite.