INDIANAPOLIS – As an investigations senior associate with PNC, Jerry Crowe probes deposit fraud cases and prepares them for law enforcement so detectives can follow through and prosecute the fraudsters.
Aside from his 25 years as an investigator, Crowe also leverages his certification and experience with the Dayton (Ohio) Police Department as a neighborhood assistance officer (NAO).
“I serve as a liaison between the bank and law enforcement, so it’s really helpful to have had experience in police work,” Crowe said. “My background as an NAO helps me know what the detectives need so they can pursue the case and resolve the issue.”
While serving as a volunteer with the Dayton police, Crowe also managed a consumer finance company office, then later worked as a collections manager and a fraud investigator at another major bank.
When he learned about an opening on the investigations team, he jumped at the chance. “I was in the right place at the right time, but I had the perfect credentials, too,” he said.
Crowe is passionate about protecting people, the bank and solving cases, noting that during his police days his patrol hours would fly by. “You go out and start looking into things and it gets in your blood. That’s the case with fraud investigations, too,” he said.
What I like about my job is when I get to see the money come back to a fraud victim or the bank after spending time on an investigation. It’s always a thrill.
His 25 to 30 cases a month at PNC typically relate to financial exploitation involving vulnerable adults, check/wire fraud, depository fraud and internal investigations. The money involved ranges from hundreds of dollars to millions.
Although there is no guarantee that law enforcement will take on a case, Crowe works on each one until he believes the authorities will have enough information to resolve it.
“I’m very methodical—there are certain steps in each investigation and report. I try to follow those steps to make it as easy as possible for law enforcement or the court,” he said. “The criminal justice system is overloaded, so I try to do my part to help make sure the bank and customers have their cases resolved.”
Crowe investigated one of his most memorable cases early in his career. This case involved a man who was “check kiting”—writing fraudulent checks from one bank to another to essentially make himself interest-free loans. At $1.5 million, this was a large case for Crowe, but it was also memorable because the suspect was Crowe’s little-league coach and well known in the business community.
“Working that case was a challenge because I had respect for him. In situations like that I try to remember that I didn’t cause the problem—the person made a bad decision and so I have to do my job.”
While cases like this one can be uncomfortable, Crowe prefers to focus on the people he is helping. In one case a woman was scammed into wiring more than $15,000 to a man claiming to be a soldier overseas. Crowe worked with another bank where the woman wired the money and returned a large portion to her.
“She was ecstatic because she thought that she would never see a dime of the money returned,” Crowe said. “That news was like an early Christmas present for her. To make a customer that happy feels really good.”
In Ohio, the state governor can appoint certain bank employees as police officers. Crowe received this appointment when he started his career in fraud investigations in Ohio.
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