Man faces larceny charges after bank mixup

Withdrew $2 million from account with same name
February 20, 2008 6:12:44 PM PST
A Brooklyn man mistakenly given access to a $5.8 million account managed by a man with the same name spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on jewelry and failed investments, prosecutors said.Benjamin Lovell, 48, faces grand larceny changes for withdrawing the money from the account at Commerce Bank. He was arraigned Tuesday night, and ordered held on $3 million bond or $1 million cash bail. A call to his attorney was not immediately returned. A distraught woman who answered the phone at his home asked to be left alone.

Lovell, who has an account at that Commerce branch, says he tried to tell officials at the bank that the multimillion-dollar account wasn't his. But he says they told him it was his account and that he could withdraw the money. So he did - more than $2 million. That money went toward jewelry, cash gifts to friends, and a number of failed investments, authorities said.

The Brooklyn District Attorney's office says the name on the account was Benjamin Lovell, just a different one. The rightful Benjamin Lovell works for Woodlawn Trust, and was a signatory on the account for Woodlawn.

Commerce Bank declined to comment.