Ex-banker accused of stealing $2.7 million

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Huntington National Bank accuses a former manager of stealing $2.7 million by diverting bank funds to his Chillicothe property-management company.

Joseph P. Molnar stole the funds between late 2008 and mid-2012 while helping to manage a Huntington subsidiary, the Columbus-based bank alleges in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

The lawsuit accuses Molnar and unidentified parties of engaging in a racketeering scheme to divert money owed to Huntington to J. Property Management, a company owned by Molnar.

Molnar owns property in downtown Chillicothe and has been active in efforts to redevelop the community, including the landmark Carlisle Building, which was damaged by a fire set by an arsonist in 2003.

U.S. District Court Judge Algenon L. Marbley has a hearing set for Thursday on Huntington’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent Molnar and others from transferring or spending Huntington money.

The lawsuit, which seeks the return of $2.7 million and damages, alleges that Molnar admitted on Oct. 31 to diverting money owed to Huntington into the bank account of his company. The bank filed the lawsuit the same day.

Molnar, 49, did not respond yesterday to messages seeking comment. He has not filed a response to the lawsuit or identified a lawyer to represent him.

The lawsuit alleges that money disappeared while Molnar helped manage the investments of Huntington Community Development Corp., a subsidiary that invests in low-income housing and other projects that yield tax credits for the bank.

Huntington accuses Molnar of diverting “development advisory fees” on 38 occasions. The fees are paid by developers to cover the costs of managing the subsidiary’s investments. The largest alleged diversion, of $429,727, occurred on Feb. 12, 2009, the lawsuit claims. Molnar resigned from his bank position in 2012.

The lawsuit says that Huntington did not discover the “ongoing fraud” until September. No customers lost money as a result of the alleged scheme, said Huntington spokeswoman Maureen Brown.

No criminal charges have been filed against Molnar. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said it could not comment.

Brown said: “We referred the issue to the appropriate law-enforcement officials and expect prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”




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