CommerceWest Bank in $4.9M deal with US to settle fraud case

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — CommerceWest Bank has agreed to a $4.9 million federal settlement of a consumer fraud case involving unauthorized withdrawals from customer accounts.

With the agreement, the bank will avoid criminal prosecution.

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced the deal with CommerceWest, a small bank with operations in southern California. The settlement resolves a criminal charge and a civil lawsuit against the bank.

CommerceWest, based in Irvine, California, admits wrongdoing under terms of the agreement. The bank won't be prosecuted on condition it gives up its claim to about $2.9 million seized by law enforcement authorities from the CommerceWest accounts of payment processor V Internet Corp.

In addition, CommerceWest will pay a $1 million civil penalty and will forfeit $1 million to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's consumer fraud fund.