- Regions Bank confirmed to Insider that the PAC of its holding company is the victim of nine counterfeit checks.
- “We believe the fraud was committed externally after a fraudster, or fraudsters, counterfeited PAC checks to make them appear to be legitimate,” a bank spokesperson told Insider.
- The bank has contacted law enforcement agencies.
- During the 2020 election, the Regions Financial Corporation PAC spread hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions among dozens of politicians — both Republicans and Democrats.
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There were no guns, no masks, no demands for unmarked wads of cash.
Nevertheless, thieves made off with $31,550 from the federal political action committee of Regions Financial Corporation, the holding company of Alabama-based Regions Bank, according to new documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The bank’s PAC has made numerous donations to both Republicans and Democrats. Republican recipients include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Josh Hawley of Missouri, while Democrats include House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Maxine Waters of California.
The bank on Friday confirmed to Insider that the theft involved nine fraudulent checks that drew in November on the Regions Financial Corporation PAC checking account.
“We believe the fraud was committed externally after a fraudster, or fraudsters, counterfeited PAC checks to make them appear to be legitimate,” Regions Bank spokesman Jeremy D. King told Insider. “Once this was detected, we immediately took steps to safeguard the checking account to prevent any additional counterfeit checks from being cashed.
On December 8, Regions Bank refunded the PAC the full amount that had been stolen, according to FEC records.
“The PAC is a Regions customer, and the reimbursements were made consistent with Regions’ policy to reimburse customers who were the victims of fraud,” King said. “We are also working with banks where counterfeit checks were cashed to help restore funds where possible.”
King confirmed that Regions Bank, which operates in 16 states throughout the South and Midwest, has reported the theft to law enforcement in multiple states but declined to identify which ones. The checks, he added, were “cashed in several jurisdictions.”
The FBI declined to comment Friday night “in keeping with our standard practice of neither confirming nor denying the existence of an investigation.”
The PAC reported ending 2020 with about $273,000 in reserve, according to FEC records. During the 2019-2020 election cycle, it contributed to dozens of federal political candidates on both sides of the aisle, with its overall spending favoring Republicans over Democrats, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Theft from federal PACs — and even political candidates’ campaign committees — doesn’t happen often. But it does happen.
A particularly notorious example took place a decade ago, when political operative Kinde Durkee stole millions of dollars collectively from the campaign accounts of dozens of politicians, including that of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat. Durkee went to prison and was ordered to pay restitution.