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Friday, December 31, 2010

Former Birmingham, Alabama bank employee indicted

 A federal grand jury today indicted a Hoover woman for embezzling money from the bank where she worked, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Roy Sexton.

The indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Regina Stewart, 48, with two counts of embezzling money from Nexity Bank in Jefferson County while she was employed there. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $45,745 from Stewart as proceeds of illegal activity.

According to the indictment, Stewart embezzled the money by fraudulently redeeming certificates of deposit held by two clients of the bank.

“Embezzlement by bank employees is a serious crime that undermines the public’s trust in the financial system,” Vance said. “That trust, and the stability of our financial institutions, must be protected,” Vance said.

The maximum sentence for embezzlement by a bank employee is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

The Secret Service investigated this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Davis A. Barlow is prosecuting the case.

This prosecution is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency task force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Billings woman accused of bank embezzlement

An ex- employee of Montana Health Federal Credit Union denied

federal embezzlement charges Tuesday.

Sarah Anne Housley, 33, of Billings, pleaded not guilty to an

indictment charging her with bank embezzlement. The indictment

alleges that Housley, who was employed by the credit

union, embezzled at least $1,000 over in this area 2-1/2 years, until


If convicted, Housley faces a maximum 30 years in prison and a

$1 million fine. U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby continued

Housley’s relief pending trial. The case will be heard by Senior

U.S. District Judge Jack Shanstrom.

Amarillo Woman Sentenced for Embezzling Approximately $93,000 from Firstbank Southwest in Texas

Megan Elaine Hahn, 23, of Amarillo, Texas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson to 12 months and one day in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. In addition, Judge Robinson ordered that Hahn pay $93,255 in restitution. Hahn pleaded guilty in October to one count of theft by a bank employee. Judge Robinson ordered that Hahn surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on January 11, 2011, to begin serving her sentence.

Hahn is a former teller at FirstBank Southwest. She admitted that beginning in 2008 until mid-May 2010, she stole money from her cash drawer. She concealed her thefts by manipulating the balance of her teller drawer on her computer and by falsifying cash in and cash out tickets. On May 18, 2010, after she saw auditors arrive at the bank, Hahn went to the bank managers and admitted her theft. She obtained approximately $93,000 from the bank over a two-year period.

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy Drake of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Amarillo.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Former Loan Officer Admits Fraud in California

Melvin Rohs, 64, Nevada City, California, pleaded guilty to three counts of embezzlement by a bank employee and two counts of making a false statement in connection with a loan application.

According to court documents, Rohs was a senior loan officer at a regional bank headquartered in Nevada City, California, until he was terminated in May 2009. In December 2008, February 2009, and March 2009, Rohs initiated three unauthorized fund transfers from the account of Customer A to the account of Customer B totaling $ 472,109.80. Also according to court documents, in September 2008 and April 2009, Rohs falsified Customer B’s loan documents by making materially false statements concerning the credit worthiness of Customer B and by making an unauthorized increase to the loan approved by the bank. The loss associated with Rohs’s criminal conduct totals $ 2,172,109.80.

Rohs is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Karlton on March 1, 2011 at 9:15 A.M. The maximum statutory penalty Rohs faces is 30 years in prison on each count and a fine of $ 5 million. Rohs also will be ordered to make restitution to the victim of his offenses. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner made the announcement. This case is the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Camil A. Skipper is prosecuting the case.

Gang embezzles €5.6m from unnamed Dutch bank

Police have arrested 13 people in connection with the embezzlement of €5.6m from a Dutch bank by manipulating the computer system.

Police refused to say which bank was involved but said the money was taken directly from the bank rather than private accounts.
The cash ended up on the bank account of a 26-year-old man from Wageningen and was then moved to a number of different accounts abroad. So far €2m has been recovered.
The 26-year-old is among the 13 people who have been arrested. The oldest was 52. Not all the men knew each other, police said, and it is not clear if more arrests will follow.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Former credit union official charged with embezzling in Michigan

A retired Muskegon High School assistant principal has been charged with embezzling thousands of dollars from a teachers’ credit union where he was office manager.

Kenneth Richard Doctor, 62, of 5451 Davis is scheduled for a preliminary examination Jan. 5 on a charge of embezzlement from a financial institution. That’s a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Doctor was arraigned Nov. 29 and is free on a $10,000 signature bond, according to court records.

Brett Gardner, chief assistant Muskegon County prosecutor, said Muskegon police reports indicate Doctor allegedly used money from the Muskegon Teachers Credit Union “for his own personal use and gain” over a period of time through August 2008. The money — totaling more than $6,000 — allegedly was spent on “personal items” in several transactions, Gardner said.

Police reports indicate Doctor was office manager and treasurer of the board of directors of the credit union, located at 1150 Amity. The alleged missing money was uncovered as the result of an audit in the summer of 2008 that resulted in Doctor’s suspension, Gardner said.

Fredric Balgooyen, the Muskegon attorney listed in court files as representing Doctor, could not be reached for comment.

Doctor earlier worked as assistant principal and dean of administrative services for Muskegon High School.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Former Sitka Credit Union CFO Sentenced in Alaska

A former credit union CFO in Sitka will serve two years in prison for embezzlement. Vicki Weidenhof was convicted earlier this year for skimming over $187,000 in operational money from the ALPS Federal Credit Union in Sitka. US District Court Judge John Sedwick handed down the sentence Friday morning.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ex-banker sentenced for embezzlement in Iowa

A former branch manager of a bank in Ankeny has been sentenced to more than a year in prison for embezzlement.

Dana Schmieding of Cambridge was accused of embezzling money between 2001 and 2008 from U.S. Bank.

Federal prosecutors said she took unauthorized advances from existing consumer loans, originated loans in the names of the bank and bank customers without their knowledge or consent, and accessed established credit lines of various bank customers.

Schmieding pleaded guilty to a charge of embezzlement by a bank employee.

The U.S. attorney’s office said she was sentenced last week to 17 months in prison. Schmieding also was ordered to serve five years of supervised release and to pay restitution of $250,000.

Menomonie, Wisconsin woman pleads guilty to bank embezzlement

John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Becky L. Jensen, 51, of Menomonie, Wis., pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Madison to bank embezzlement.

At the plea hearing, Jensen admitted embezzling approximately $28,000 from her former employer, Bremer Bank in Eau Galle, Wis. The charge against Jensen was the result of an investigation conducted by the Eau Claire office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant C. Johnson.

U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb scheduled sentencing for March 1, 2011. Jensen faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

Former Citizens Bank loan officer pleads guilty to embezzlement in Nevada

Melvin Rohs, 64, of Nevada City, pleaded guilty today in federal court to three counts of embezzlement by a bank employee and two counts of making a false statement in connection with a loan application.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Camil A. Skipper is prosecuting the case.

According to court documents, Rohs was a senior loan officer at a regional bank headquartered in Nevada City until he was terminated in May 2009. While Skipper declined to name the bank, Rohs was listed online as having been an assistant vice president and a senior commercial loan underwriter at Citizens Bank.

In December 2008, February 2009, and March 2009, Rohs initiated three unauthorized fund transfers from the account of one customer to the account of a second customer, totaling $472,109.80. Also according to court documents, in September 2008 and April 2009, Rohs falsified the loan documents of the second customer by making materially false statements concerning credit worthiness and by making an unauthorized increase to the loan approved by the bank. The loss associated with Rohs' criminal conduct totals $2,172,109.80.

Rohs is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Karlton on March 1. The maximum statutory penalty Rohs faces is 30 years in prison on each count and a fine of $5 million. Rohs also will be ordered to make restitution to the victim of his offenses.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bank manager sentenced in mortgage fraud in Pennsylvania

A former Citizens Bank branch manager who provided false documents underlying mortgages will get home confinement and probation, U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer decided today.

Crystal Spreng, 40, of Cabot, ran the Bloomfield branch for Citizens Bank, and won a manager of the year award in 2006, according to court filings. But from 2005 through 2007, according to a June 2009 indictment, she was a bit player in a mortgage fraud ring run by broker Robert Arakelian, who has pleaded guilty but has not yet been sentenced.

Ms. Spreng's role was to confirm to other lenders borrower bank balances that were not actually in their accounts. Prosecutors accused her of involvement in nine mortgages totaling $608,501, but she pleaded guilty to just one count and argued in pleadings that Mr. Arakelian pasted her signature without her knowledge on some of the documents he used to justify loans.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan Conway argued for, at the very least, confinement in a halfway house. "We cannot have bank managers filling out fraudulent verifications of deposits," he told Judge Fischer. "That has got to stop."

Defense attorney John A. Knorr, though, successfully argued that Mr. Arakelian was "a spider who ensnared" Ms. Spreng in a broader scheme.

Judge Fischer said she was swayed in part by Ms. Spreng's difficult upbringing, her charity work for homeless veterans and others, her close family including three children ages 16 to 21, and the humiliation and career loss she has already suffered.

Ms. Spreng will be allowed to continue working as a waitress during six months of home confinement as part of five years of probation. If prosecutors can identify victims and amounts lost, she will have to pay restitution

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

‘Robin Hood’ banker gets 63 months for fraud in Illinois

First Security Trust & Savings Bank loan officer Jeffrey Gonsiewski, pleaded guilty in August to one count of federal bank fraud, was sentenced to 63 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo on Tuesday.

The U.S. Government last summer had accused the 56-year-old high school graduate of changing loan terms or arranging loans to be made in a scheme that ultimately caused the Elmwood Park-based lender, part of the Wirtz family empire, to lose more than $5.5 million.

Some monies have since been recovered, so Gonsiewski now has been ordered to pay nearly $5.2 million in restitution. On Jan. 20 he’ll report to a still-unspecified prison.
Gonsiewski had admitted that he changed the terms of at least 100 loans for more than 50 struggling borrowers to make it appear that their payments were current when in fact they were overdue. He’d change due dates to a later time period, or monthly payments to quarterly ones, or principal-and-interest payments to interest-only payments.

At least once, he wrote off $100,000 in interest owed by one borrower. Or he’d loan more money even when the borrowers didn’t have sufficient collateral.

In documents filed Monday with the court, Gonsiewski’s lawyer, Terrence LeFevour, said the crime on his client’s part was “an idiotic attempt to assist his clients, hoping that with extensions of their loans by deceit, eventually these clients would” repay the bank when the economy would improve and the property would be sold.

“As stupid as his plan can be judged, he never sought to profit from it,” his lawyer wrote, adding that he “never took one cent from anybody.”

Gonsiewski, who after spending more than 30 years at the bank now works as a caterer’s helper and a stock boy and also recently as a delivery driver, told the judge before his sentencing that he was “truly sorry.”

“I really only had good intentions,” a bearded, balding and bespecled Gonsiewski said softly. “I spent 34 years doing a job I loved.” He said he has also apologized to family and friends, particularly his wife, Beth, who was one of only a handful of people to attend the sentencing.

If Gonsiewski was indeed helping troubled bank borrowers, few if any showed up to express their appreciation during his sentencing in a U.S. District Court in Chicago. Both Jeff and Beth declined to comment afterward. Beth, with short hair and wearing a black suit and white shirt, retained her composure throughout the proceedings, as did Jeff.

A spokesman for the Wirtz family bank, Guy Chipparoni, was also in attendance.

In the courtroom, the government’s lawyer said Gonsiewski carried out his scheme from September 2004 to February 2009.

In a sentencing hearing that lasted about 45 minutes, the topic of Gonsiewski’s motive came up frequently.

Jackie Stern, the government lawyer, told the judge that she still isn’t positive what Gonsiewski’s motive was, speculating that perhaps he wanted “more authority” or “revenge” or felt unappreciated. The government uncovered no evidence that Gonsiewski personally profited from the scheme, she acknowledged.

Judge Bucklo also seemed baffled by Gonsiewski’s behavior in light of the fact that he didn’t appear to profit personally from it. His salary at the bank was $69,000 a year; his wife has worked as a bartender and as an assitant manager at a restaurant.

It came to light during the sentencing hearing, in fact, that there were times when Gonsiewski didn’t cash his paychecks from the bank, which led the judge to one of two conclusions: that he had money elsewhere or that he was mentally unbalanced, she theorized.

“He’s very sharp,” Stern told the judge of Gonsiewski, adding that he eventually did cash the paychecks.

Besides “motive is not a factor to be considered” during sentencing, Stern said to the judge. “The fact he did this, whatever the motive, he had no respect for the law.”

Since he was fired by the bank, Gonsiewski hasn’t sent so much as $20 to the bank as restitution, Stern said.

Gonsiewski’s lawyer, LeFevour, reiterated that his client isn’t hiding any money in any offshore accounts.

Said the judge: “It doesn’t make any sense.”

LeFevour, the defense lawyer, said Gonsiewski rarely even socialized with the bank’s clients, perhaps just once going out to dinner or golfing with them. He noted that his client has problems with alcohol.

Preparing to issue a sentence, the judge noted that a small bank lost $5.5 million because of fraud perpetrated by an insider over a long time period.

“It’s just baffling,” Judge Bucklo said again. “How it would be worth it I just do not understand.” She noted that he has about $400,000 in a retirement account. “That’s not peanuts,” she said.

In a court filing on Monday, LeFevour said Gonsiewski had no juvenile or adult convictions. He also wrote that the bank did a poor job of overseeing its workers.

“His simple efforts to deceive would not have been successful at all if someone at a minimum had been watching, just a little bit,” LeFevour wrote. “This was clearly not the case at First Security Bank.”

The defense lawyer sought to minimize the sophistication of Gonsiewski’s crime in hopes that the judge would go easier on him. “Gonsiewski used the simple tools of basic fraud — a pen and whiteout, or a replacement form — to complete his misguided efforts to help his clients,” his lawyer wrote Monday in a court filing.

In an earlier court proceeding, a bank customer named Luigi Adamo was identified as being the customer who was helped most often by Gonsiewski.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Orange, California woman could face 400 years in prison on embezzlement charges

The president of an Orange County credit union has been indicted on embezzlement and money laundering charges.

Sandra H. Cooper, 56, of Orange, was indicted Wednesday. She is accused of embezzling $1,164,360 in four and a half years. If convicted, she faces up to 30 years in prison for each of the 14 embezzlement charges and up to 10 years in federal prison for the money laundering charges.
According to the indictment passed down by U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, Cooper, the president and treasurer of the two-employee Orange County Employees Federal Credit Union, is charged with writing checks from the credit union's checking account to herself and signing them. The checks ranged from $5,000 to $9,500.
Cooper is also accused of writing checks from the credit union's account for more than $10,000 to herself and cashing them, the indictment reads.
In June 2010, the National Credit Union Administration Board found the credit union insolvent and transferred all customer accounts to the Sabine Federal Credit Union.
Cooper's trial is set for Jan. 24.

Bank Official Admits Embezzling $50,000 in Indiana

The vice president of a local bank embezzled more than $50,000 by taking out loans on customers’ accounts and increasing her own mortgage, according to court records.

Sherlynn Groat, 56, of Hammond, agreed to plead guilty the same day she was charged in the U.S. District Court in Hammond with one count each embezzling money from the bank and entering in false information.
According to her plea agreement, Groat has worked at Liberty Savings Bank, a local company that has branches in Whiting and Schererville, since 1981. She admits in the agreement that from March 2008 to April 2010, she used the loans to take in more than $50,000 from the bank.
At first she used her position to increase her own mortgage, the agreements says, essentially using it as a line of credit for $16,500, which the bank does not allow. She went further by increasing the loan of a bank customer, without that customer’s knowledge, and kept the money for herself. Groat ended up creating a new loan for a bank customer, again taking the money for herself.
Groat says in the agreement that she tried to make payments on that loan but fell behind. That led to her creating a second loan to pay the first one off, according to the agreement. Groat says in the agreement that she hid paperwork of the loan from the customer.
She also admits to stealing checks a customer had sent in to make payments on the customer’s loan and used the money for herself.
According to court records, Groat has paid back all the money she took.
Neither her attorney nor a representative with Liberty Savings Bank could be reached for comment.
According to the agreement, Groat could face up to 30 years on each count, although U.S. attorneys will recommend that she receive the minimum of her sentencing guideline. It isn’t known what that would be. Also part of the plea deal is an agreement that Groat will sign an Order of Prohibition with the Office of Thrift Supervision, which would essentially ban her from working in the banking and insurance fields. It isn’t clear how long that ban would last.
An initial appearance for Groat has not been set yet, according to court records.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bank embezzler gets prison in Montana

.A former bank employee in Forsyth who embezzled $84,000 and used some of the money for fertility treatments will spend a year in federal prison.

Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull on Thursday sentenced Courtney Marie Batey, 31, of Hysham to a year and a day in prison and ordered her to pay $84,040 restitution.
"I am extremely remorseful," Batey said. "It will never happen again."
Assistant federal defender Steve Babcock asked for leniency, saying depression, anxiety and medical problems that made it difficult to become pregnant led Batey to make poor choices.
Some of the money Batey stole went to pay for fertility treatments, Babcock said. And while admitting that Batey lived beyond her means, Babcock said she had a modest lifestyle.
Batey had no criminal history and cooperated when confronted with the thefts, Babcock said.
A six-month sentence to a halfway house would allow Batey, who has a young daughter, to continue with mental health counseling, Babcock said. Batey is more concerned with others than herself and was extremely remorseful, he said.
The judge declined the defense's recommendation but gave Batey a break by sentencing her below the guideline range of 15 months to 21 months.
The sentence will allow Batey to earn good time, which would shorten her sentence by about 15 percent.
Prison time is necessary, Cebull said, to reflect the seriousness of the crime, provide punishment and serve as a deterrent to others.
Batey pleaded guilty in August to one count of bank embezzlement. Batey worked as a teller at the Wells Fargo Bank in Forsyth for six years until July 2009, when she was promoted to teller/service manager.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Archer said Batey took advantage of her supervisory position to steal money from her teller drawer for about 18 months. She replaced the stolen funds with money she took from customer accounts when the customers cashed in certificates of deposit.
The embezzlement was discovered when a customer complained about being shorted $5,000 when she redeemed two CDs, Archer said. The bank compensated the customers for their losses.
Archer said there was nothing unique about Batey's case and that a 15-month sentence was reasonable. Batey stole a significant amount not only from her employer but also from customers, he said.
Batey used the money for personal gain by buying a $46,000 pickup truck and a $6,300 four-wheeler for her family in addition spending about $21,000 on medical expenses, Archer said.
Cebull said he would recommend that Batey serve her time in a medical facility and allowed her to report to the prison.

Ex-banker sentenced for North Penn embezzlement

A former North Penn Bank executive will spend 14 months in federal prison for embezzling $30,000 from the Scranton bank.

Glenn J. Clark, 37, of Scranton, was sentenced Thursday by Senior U.S. District Judge Edwin M. Kosik after pleading guilty June 3 to embezzlement and making false entries in bank records. The prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release.
Mr. Clark, North Penn's former assistant vice president, controller and principal accounting officer, was fired in November 2008 after the bank discovered the embezzlement.
An investigation found he embezzled about $30,000 in bank funds, which he used to pay personal expenses.
He was also accused of manipulating the bank's internal accounts and making numerous fraudulent journal entries in an attempt to conceal substantial shortages instead of reporting them to North Penn's management.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bank embezzler sentenced to 18 months in South Carolina

He coached little league baseball, served his community as volunteer firefighter and was described in court as a doting father and loving husband.
But after choosing to take part in a two-man embezzlement scheme in 2005, Jason Nicklous Kizer will serve 18 months in a federal prison.
The Dorchester man known to friends and family as Nick was sentenced Monday for his role in helping drain about $330,000 from inactive accounts at S.C. Federal Credit Union while working for the government-insured lender.
The former finance director of South Carolina's social services agency was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for stealing more than $5 million from the agency, money he has admitted spending on strippers, alcohol and gambling.

"Never in a million years did I think I'd be standing here in this position today," Paul Timothy Moore, 61, said during his two-hour hearing in federal court in Columbia. "I let my negative actions over the course of four years erase all of the positive ones over the previous 16."

Moore, who had worked at the social services agency for 20 years, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and theft of government funds.

The Carolinas news

The Carolinas news

South Carolina


Marsh tacky gets state designation

The Carolinas news

The Carolinas news

Italian man arrested in Ravenel cocaine case

An Italian citizen charged as part of a cocaine conspiracy that included former S.C. state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel was in custody Friday after more than three years on the run, federal authorities said Friday.

Charleston-area wine expert Pasquale Pellicoro was arrested late Thursday in Belfort, France, the FBI said. It was not clear when Pellicoro would return to the United States, and court records did not list an attorney for him.

Pellicoro, 56, had been on the run since mid-2007, when he failed to appear for a court hearing on a drug conspiracy charge. Authorities said Pellicoro was one of several people who supplied cocaine for Ravenel between January 2005 and June 2007, and prosecutors have said information provided by Ravenel led to Pellicoro's indictment.

He also agreed to repay about $146,000 and will report to a supervised release program for five years after serving his time.

He and accomplice Robert Tam of North Charleston pleaded guilty in April to embezzling from the credit union over several years while working in its Summerville branch.

"I made a dreadful, selfish and very greedy decision when I'd done all this," Kizer told U.S. District Court Judge Sol Blatt Jr. during an emotionally charged hearing in downtown Charleston.

The former account manager, who is 31, offered a tearful apology to his family, his former co-workers and to the credit union, where his mother still works.

More than a dozen relatives and friends were in the courtroom to show support. Several of them stood before Blatt to vouch for Kizer's character, though each recognized the seriousness of the crime. Kizer's punishment was less harsh than what's called for under standard federal sentencing guidelines, partly because of his cooperation with authorities, his show of remorse and a potentially serious medical condition.

It was noted that Kizer had no prior criminal record and that his contributions to the local community included time spent as a baseball coach and as a volunteer firefighter in Dorchester County.

"He's helped save lives and fight fires," said Abigail Walsh, his attorney. Kizer could have been imprisoned for 30 to 41 months, but the government agreed last week to a waiver from normal sentencing guidelines, said assistant U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart.

Prosecutors previously agreed to drop a charge of aggravated identity theft.

Walsh asked that Kizer's punishment not include incarceration so that he could keep his job and repay the North Charleston-based credit union in full more quickly.

Blatt denied the request, saying that after weighing all the factors he was unable to ignore the "substantial" amount of money that had been stolen. He also pointed to the fact that the embezzlement went on for several years, "not just a day or just a day or two."

"You couldn't erase what you've done," he told Kizer.

Blatt allowed a 90-day grace period before Kizer must report to prison.

Kizer said he has been diagnosed with cancer and won't know the extent of the disease and his treatment until after Jan. 1, when his medical insurance takes effect at his current job selling heating and air-conditioning parts.

Authorities traced the embezzlement scheme to 2005. With Kizer working as an account manager at the credit union and Tam as a risk management analyst, they siphoned off funds until the fall of last year, when they were fired.

Attorneys at Monday's hearing described Tam as the instigator. If not for him, Walsh said, "we wouldn't be here today."

Prosecutors said Tam's job enabled him to identify accounts with little or no activity. He approached Kizer about issuing bank cards in the names of those customers, according to authorities. Kizer then used those cards to withdraw cash from automated teller machines that were not equipped with security cameras. The two men shared the proceeds.

Tam's sentencing had been scheduled for Monday but was postponed at the last minute to an undetermined date. He and Kizer hugged and talked briefly outside the courtroom, minutes before Kizer was called inside.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

California Man Accused Of Embezzling $150K From Armored Car Company; Spends It On Strippers

A man is under arrest after police say he spent nearly $150,000 on strippers. That may not be a crime, but the suspect serviced ATM’s around San Joaquin County, and is accused of stealing money from the machines.

According to the Stockton Record, Orlando Calderon Flores, 27, is accused of embezzling nearly $150,000, and spending all of it on strippers.

The 27-year-old armored car driver is accused of stealing the money from the same Stockton ATM for almost a year straight and spending it at the same Stockton strip club.
No one at the Modesto Garda Cash Logistics office would speak about the arrest, but Flores reportedly was fired once his boss caught on to the alleged theft.
Flores isn’t in custody any longer.
After doing some calculations, if Flores went to the strip club seven nights a week, he would have to spend more than $400 a visit to blow $150,000 in a year’s time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Petersburg bank president says embezzlement charges won't affect bank in Illinois

The president of Petefish, Skiles & Co. said Wednesday that embezzlement charges against a former employee “will have no significant impact on the bank.”

Thomas Prather released the statement a day after former Petersburg bank manager Stephen Bradley, 64, of Petersburg, was charged in federal court with embezzling nearly $835,000 from January 2003 to March 1, 2010.
According to the bank, Bradley joined the Petersburg bank in 2000 and was terminated in March this year.
“All banks are required to have insurance for these types of situations. The bank has worked closely with the victims directly involved in the embezzlement to help minimize the harm done to them and insures a full recovery of any loss,” Prather said in the statement.
Prather said the embezzling involved creation of fraudulent loans and misappropriation of funds.
In addition to Petersburg, the bank has offices in Virginia, Tallula, Greenview, Chandlerville and Havana.

Former Binghamton-area banker sentenced for embezzling client's money in New York

BINGHAMTON -- A former local bank manager will spend four years in federal prison for embezzling $410,000 in cash from a Dickinson man's safety deposit box, a judge said Tuesday.

Thomas Cararo, 40, now of North Carolina, can spend the holidays with his family, wife and children, but he'll have to surrender Jan. 4 to officers with the U.S. Marshals Service to begin serving his sentence, said Senior U.S. District Court Judge Thomas J. McAvoy during Cararo's sentencing in Binghamton's federal court.
McAvoy told Cararo that while taking the money was "despicable," Cararo also had a clean record until the embezzlement.
"You can be pushed into a position where you don't use your judgment," McAvoy said.
The judge gave Cararo less prison time than federal sentencing guidelines recommend as the minimum, which is four years, 11 months.
The former Citizens Bank branch manager could have received up to 30 years for his June 11 jury conviction on a single count of embezzlement.
"This whole experience has humbled me in so many ways, more ways than I can even tell you," Cararo told McAvoy. "I loved what I did. I loved my job working in a bank."
Cararo will also have to pay back the $410,000 -- $256,000 to Leonard Wilcox and $154,000 to Cararo's former employer, Citizens Bank.
The bank reimbursed Wilcox with $154,000, the amount of cash that bank records indicated was exchanged as damaged or destroyed.
Wilcox testified at Cararo's trial that he kept about $484,000 in cash in a floor safe in the garage to his house in the Town of Dickinson. But in 2006 flooding, the cash was soaked and contaminated by sewage.
Wilcox testified he exchanged the damaged cash for new money at the Chenango Bridge branch of Citizens Bank, where Cararo was then the branch manager.
Bank records showed about $154,000 in damaged or contaminated money was exchanged. However, tellers at the bank testified at trial that they exchanged thousands in cash with Wilcox that wasn't recorded as damaged.
Wilcox testified he took hundreds of thousands of dollars in a shopping bag in October 2006 to the 84 Court St. location of Citizens Bank, where Cararo was transferred as bank manager,
Wilcox put the cash in a safe deposit box, he testified. When he returned on Nov. 7, 2007, to check on his money, the box had been redrilled and rekeyed. When box No. 418 was opened, all that remained of the $410,000 was $74,000, Wilcox testified.

Cararo left Citizens in August 2007 for a job with Bank of America in North Carolina. Box No. 418 was drilled and rekeyed in June 2007 at the direction of Cararo, witnesses testified in June.
An FBI investigation of Cararo's bank records showed Cararo used cash payments of up to $65,000 to pay for home improvements and renovations, as well as furniture, at two houses he owned in the Town of Dickinson -- one street over from Wilcox's residence.
However, the FBI investigation could not account for the amount of cash Cararo was alleged to have taken.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Walsh, who prosecuted the case, on Tuesday called McAvoy's sentencing of Cararo fair.
Cararo's attorney, federal Public Defender Lisa Peebles, didn't agree with that assessment.
"I think it's really sad," Peebles said. "I don't believe for a second (Wilcox) lost more than $400,000."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bank employee accused of embezzlement in California

Norma Pena, 37, of Delhi, was arrested Friday after a federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment Thursday, charging her with embezzlement by a bank employee of more than $217,000 and criminal forfeiture, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said.
Pena was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Beck for arraignment in Fresno on Friday.
According to the indictment, Pena was an assistant branch manager at the Citibank branch in Ceres and used her position to embezzle more than $217,000 between March 2009 and February 2010.
As assistant branch manager, Pena oversaw daily branch operations, operational controls, the teller line and bank teller employees.
The indictment alleges that as part of her scheme, Pena created her own teller cash drawer over which she had control.
A teller cash drawer contains the cash received by a specific branch employee or teller from various bank sources such as branch customers, the branch vault, and other branch tellers. Any amounts of cash placed in a specific cash drawer are tallied by an electronic branch accounting system, which also records the total amount.
When Pena would receive cash, instead of placing it in her cash drawer, she would allegedly keep some of it for herself. The branch accounting system would electronically show that the cash had been placed in her cash drawer. As a result, her cash drawer contained less cash than the amount shown electronically, the news release said.
To hide the alleged discrepancy, Pena would make electronic transfers in the branch accounting system, purportedly from her cash drawer to the branch automatic-teller machine vault systems, without actually transferring any cash from her cash drawer to the ATM vaults. Pena would then oversee the cash counts of the ATM vaults and other cash counts at the branch, in which she would cover up the amount of cash missing, the news release continued.
During her alleged scheme, Pena also engaged in check kiting by writing checks with insufficient funds from one financial account to cover and keep afloat insufficient checks she had written on other financial accounts.
If convicted of the charges, Pena faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Old Town, Maine Woman Pleads Guilty to Bank Embezzlement

A woman from Old Town faces up to 30 yearin prison for embezzling as much as $30,000 from Bangor Savings Bank.

44-year-old Karen Lebreton pleaded guilty yesterday in U-S District Court in Bangor.
She admitted that when she worked at the bank between December 2008 and November 2009 she took money from at least three customers accounts.
Lebreton requested a teller withdraw the funds in the form of cashier's checks.
Investigators discovered that last year Lebreton deposited six
cashier's checks worth $22,500 into her account at a credit union.
A sentencing date for Lebreton has not been set.

Sun Prairie, Wisconsin Man Charged with Embezzlement

Lance E. Bauer, 26, Sun Prairie, Wis., is charged with bank embezzlement in an

indictment returned by the grand jury yesterday and unsealed today. The indictment alleges that while employed by Park Bank in Madison, Bauer embezzled over $227,760 from that institution.

If convicted, Bauer faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. The

charge against him is the result of an investigation conducted by the Madison office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of this case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant C. Johnson.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Former Bank Employee In Mississippi Sentenced For $2 Million Embezzlement Scheme

Sandra Jones, 63, of Greenville, Mississippi, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for embezzling nearly $2 million from Planters Bank in Indianola, where she had been employed. According to authorities, Jones misappropriated funds from customer accounts. Jones, who pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud, was also ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution

Woman charged with embezzlement in West Virginia

A Morgantown woman was arrested by the Monongalia County Sheriff 's Department on a felony embezzlement charge after allegedly taking more than $1,000 from her employer, BB&T Bank.

Tiffany J. White, 24, was arraigned Wednesday in Monongalia County Magistrate Court and bail was set at $5,000.
White allegedly took the money in 2009 while working as a bank employee, according to the criminal complaint.
Sheriff Al Kisner said White worked at several local BB&T branches. She was a vault teller during her time with the company.
He declined to reveal the exact amount she embezzled and how she did it, because the information could be used during a criminal trial. He said he didn't want to influence the jury before a trial.
The bank reported the embezzlement to the sheriff 's department after it was discovered during an audit, Kisner said.
The department based its charges on bank audits, White's confession and money turned over to bank authorities during a surprise audit, according to the criminal complaint.
If convicted, White faces a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

4 charged in alleged abduction, Kan. bank robbery

A teller who was found bound to a chair at a suburban Kansas City bank is among four people charged with stealing money from the facility.

Twenty-year-old Michael Grace told police Wednesday he had been abducted from outside his apartment complex that morning and forced to drive to the U.S. Bank branch in Overland Park where he worked. Grace said his abductor forced him to open the bank and then robbed it.
A federal complaint filed Friday says Grace, 18-year-old Brenden L. Connors, 20-year-old David Batson and 28-year-old Jacob McWhirt admitted the robbery was staged. All are from Overland Park.
The four are charged with theft/embezzlement/misapplication by a bank officer and are scheduled for a court hearing Friday afternoon.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Archer County Bank Manager Charged with Embezzlement in Kansas

Archer County Sheriff's Lieutenant Jack McGuinn says 34-year-old Thomas Jason Allen was a branch manager at Archer City American National Bank.
McGuinn says last friday a bank clerk discovered money was missing when she got $10,000 out of the vault to cash a customer's check.

Investigators say $300 was reported missing from each one thousand dollar stack and that's when an audit was conducted.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Audit shows no missing bank money after CEO's death in Michigan

A forensic audit on the operations of Community Central Bank following the disappearance of the institution's former CEO David Widlak found no missing money or irregularities.However, the Mount Clemens-based bank was ordered by state and federal regulators to comply with a lengthy list of corrective measures outlined in a consent order to strengthen the bank's financial condition.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, officials said the forensic analysis uncovered no unauthorized transactions by Widlak, who later turned up dead from a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
"We remain baffled and deeply saddened by the violent death of our friend and colleague," acting CEO Ray Colonius said in the statement.
Widlak, 62, of Grosse Pointe Farms, was reported missing on Sept. 20 after his car was found in the bank's parking lot and his office was in disarray. His body was found Oct. 17 by a pair of duck hunters in a marshy section of Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township.
After a pair of autopsies, a gunshot wound was found in the back of Widlak's head and a .38-caliber handgun he owned was found nearby in the muddy water.
The Macomb County Sheriff's Office and Macomb County Medical Examiner are working to complete their investigation into whether his death was a suicide or murder. A number of toxicology and ballistic tests will help make that determination.
In the days following his disappearance, the Macomb Daily reported Widlak had moved back to Michigan from Las Vegas because he had lost a lot of money gambling, raising speculation he was involved in illegal activity at the bank such as embezzlement.
But the audit, conducted by independent accountants Plante & Moran, PLLC, did not turn up any "unauthorized or problematic transactions, or any circumvention of internal controls on the part of Mr. Widlak," according to the bank's statement.
The statement also acknowledged Community Central Bank has been directed to a consent order with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) to take steps to bolster the bank's standing.
Under terms of the consent order, effective Nov. 1, 2010, the bank has agreed to:
* Increase board oversight and conduct an independent study of management
* Improve regulatory capital ratios
* Charge-off certain classified assets
* Reduce its level of loan delinquencies and problem assets
* Limit lending to certain borrowers
* Revise lending and collection policies
* Adopt and implement new profit, strategic and liquidity plans
* Correct loan underwriting and credit administration deficiencies
In addition, the order must obtain prior regulatory approval before paying cash dividends or the appointment of any senior executive officers or directors.
Community Central Bank also is not allowed to accept brokered deposits without a waiver from the FDIC and must comply with certain deposit rate restrictions.
According to the statement, the consent order is the result of discussions regulators had with the bank earlier this year. It will remain in effect until it is changed or terminated by the FDIC or the OFIR.
In his statement, the bank's acting CEO said Community Central Bank like many commercial, real estate and business lenders in Michigan faces unprecedented challenges due to the economic downturn and the decline of values in real estate collateral in the bank's loan portfolio.
"The board and management are committed to doing everything possible to comply with the agreement," Colonius said in the statement.
Community Central Bank's financial situation has grown dark over the past year.
Recent quarterly reports show the lender lost $12.9 million in the first half of 2010, compared to $13 million for all of 2009.
Bauer Financial Inc., which rates banks nationwide on a five-star system based on financial documents, gave Community Central zero stars for the first and second quarters of 2010.
News of the forensic audit gave the bank's stock a mild uptick. It went from 52 cents a share on Thursday to 60 cents by the end of Friday.

Main Line bank manager facing embezzlement charges in Pennsylvania

A Willistown bank manager is facing 158 charges related to the embezzlement of money from the bank, as well as embezzling from a deceased aunt.Carol B. Weir, 61, was arrested Thursday by Malvern Police after allegedly stealing $43,533 from an ATM machine at the Malvern Federal Bank, where she worked. Police also allege Weir took two checks for $30,000 each that were from a deceased aunt’s investment account and deposited them into her daughter’s account without permission from her aunt’s estate.
The investigation began in August when police were contacted by Malvern Federal. Police eventually learned Weir was in some kind of financial trouble, which led to her allegedly stealing from the ATM machine and her aunt. Police allege she siphoned off cash as she filled the ATM machine, one of her duties as manager.
“I’ve known Carol Weir for years as the manager of Malvern Federal, and it’s unfortunate that it came to this,” said Malvern Police Officer Joseph Cordone, who handled the investigation.
After Weir learned police were investigating her, she resigned from her position at the bank. She and her attorney have since been cooperating with police, Cordone said. Weir allegedly confessed to stealing the money out of the ATM machine, according to court documents.
Among the charges levied against Weir are 13 first-degree felony charges of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, 11 second-degree felony charges of forgery and a host of third-degree felonies, including theft by deception, identity theft, unlawful use of a computer and computer trespass.
“It was an involved investigation, but we’re satisfied with the result,” Cordone said. “Carol Weir and her attorney are cooperating fully with the police department and the District Attorney’s office.”
Weir was arraigned Thursday before Magisterial District Judge Chester F. Darlington and has since waived her preliminary hearing. Her formal arraignment is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 18 in the county courthouse, according to online court documents.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

FBI: Fugitive Oregon banker was 'heavy gambler'

Wells Fargo fired Saia for opening fraudulent accounts
Federal agents continue to search for a former Coos Bay Wells Fargo employee who is believed to have laundered money, stolen identities and committed credit card and bank fraud involving funds of some elderly customers.
Several suffer from cancer and other physical ailments.
FBI Special Agent Jason Cherry said federal agents think 37-year-old Shawna Saia, also known as Shawna Saia-Moore, may have fled to Las Vegas.
'She's a heavy gambler," Cherry said.
Saia may have also headed to be with family in Kona, Hawaii. According to her Facebook account, she lists her hometown as Hilo, Hawaii.
Federal investigators and Coos Bay police went to Saia's Coos Bay home Thursday to serve an arrest warrant and raid it for evidence of identity theft, aggravated identity theft, credit card fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, laundering of monetary instruments and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
Cherry said Saia was last seen dropping off her child at a local school at about 8 a.m. that day. She never returned to her 1384 Montana Ave. home.
We just missed her. ... I don't know if we passed her or a neighbor called her, but somehow she figured out about the search and turned off her phone," Cherry said.
At the house, agents found 50 or more prepaid gambling cards for casinos throughout Oregon and in Las Vegas, as well as 50 or more Louis Vuitton, Coach and other high-end purses.
Before she took her job with Wells Fargo, Saia worked as a rooms division manager at The Mill Casino-Hotel from March 2003 to July 2005, said Mill spokesman Ray Doering.
Cherry noted that she has no known criminal history.
Federal agents became interested in Saia when Wells Fargo personnel fired her in August for opening bank accounts for customers without their knowledge to obtain commissions, Cherry wrote in an arrest and search warrant affidavit. She had been hired at the Coos Bay branch, 200 N. Broadway, in August 2006 as a teller. She eventually rose to assistant manager.
Two of her regular customers later reviewed their accounts and discovered multiple unauthorized transactions had been made.
Saia may have taken as much as $1.2 million in funds and gold coins from account holders.
Victims include a man who took Saia on fishing trips, excavated her backyard, and eventually trusted her with his safe deposit box keys before undergoing cancer surgery.
After Saia was terminated, (he) checked his safe deposit box and discovered that approximately 10 gold coins ... were missing," the affidavit said.
The man later said Saia showed him firearms that included assault rifles.
Another victim with medical problems described Saia 'as a best friend" before learning her money was missing and her line of equity at the bank was about $120,000 over what should have been withdrawn.
Sean Hoar, an assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, said there may be other victims.
Anyone caring for a family member who banks at Wells Fargo should consider checking that person's finances to ensure he or she has not been victimized, he said.
If there is evidence, they should contact Wells Fargo, then Cherry at 541-349-2359.
Saia is described as a 5-foot-6-inch woman, weighing 150 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.
Shawna Leimomi Moore-Saia used to work for Wells Fargo but when the bank started to receive complaints from customers that their money was disappearing, she was sacked and reported to the authorities. She promptly absconded and has been in hiding since August. Now she has surrendered to face federal charges.

The FBI put the woman who has a number of aliases used to be a hostess in a casino in Oregan.

Her FBI wanted poster says she was wanted for her alleged involvement in the theft of a large amount of money from a bank in Coos Bay, Oregon. She allegedly embezzled the money from the bank by targeting vulnerable, elderly, and sick customers and their accounts while working as an employee of the bank from August of 2006 until August of 2010. Saia Moore, born in Hawaii, was charged with multiple counts of a variety of federal white collar crimes in the United States District Court, District of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, on 27 October, 2010 and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

The charges include identity fraud, credit card fraud, embezzlement and money laundering plus the inevitable wire fraud

Odessa, Texas woman admitted stealing $31K from local bank

An Odessa woman is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in federal court for stealing about $31,000 from a local bank.
Susan Louise Bryan, 48, a former loan processor at First Basin Credit Union, pleaded guilty in August to one count of embezzlement by a bank employee.
According to court documents, Bryan opened a line of credit in April 2008 in the amount of $6,500 in her sister’s name.
“In order to get the line of credit approved, she accessed another employee’s account without her knowledge or permission,” states a factual basis accompanying Bryan’s guilty plea. “Over the next two years, (she) increased the line of credit and gave herself loan add-ons.”
Bryan approved the increases and add-ons by repeatedly accessing her co-worker’s account and then transferred the money to herself, family members and friends, court documents show. She was “immediately fired” after the bank manager discovered the theft, which reportedly occurred between April 2008 and March 2010.
Special Agent Shawn Mundy of the U.S. Secret Service phoned Bryan’s sister in Tyler, who according to court documents denied any knowledge of the “false account” created in her name. Bryan later told Mundy in an interview that she created the account and embezzled the funds “so that she could get some extra money,” the factual basis states. A grand jury indicted Bryan in late May.
Bank officials declined to comment on the case. Bryan, who is free on $10,000 bond, has an unlisted number and could not be reached for comment. Her attorney did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Bryan is scheduled to be sentenced at 3 p.m. Thursday before U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson. The charge of embezzlement by a bank employee carries a possible penalty of up to 30 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Amarillo, Texas Bank Teller Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Around $93,000

Former bank teller Megan Elaine Hahn admitted to stealing around $93,000 from the teller drawer while working at the First Bank Southwest Sleepy Hollow branch at 45th and Coulter over a two-year period. She was putting the bank's money in her own accounts and spending it.
Hahn pleaded guilty Tuesday in Federal court to one count of Theft by Bank Employee. She admitted she knowingly embezzled funds from the bank and, that by doing so, she intended to defraud the bank.
Hahn admitted to manipulating the balance of her teller drawer on her computer, as well as falsifying cash in and cash out tickets. Documents say she started stealing the money "in or about 2008" and was caught when she confessed to bank managers on May 18, 2010, after seeing auditors arrive. But one bank official familiar with the case told KAMR a different story. He said it was the auditors who actually reported the theft to management, who then confronted Hahn.
The same official told KAMR neither the bank nor their outside accounting firm, who specialize in internal audits, had ever seen an embezzlement case on the scale of Hahn's. He also said since the incident, First Bank Southwest has put security measures in place to make sure it doesn't happen again, though he said he wouldn't specify for security reasons.
The bank says no customers were affected by the embezzlement and that the only loss came to the bank.
An employee at the U.S. District Court in Amarillo said Hahn's sentencing date has not been set. The woman told us there's a 45-day waiting period until that date is set.
According to court documents, maximum prison time for Theft By Bank Employee is 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million, or "twice any pecuniary gain to the defendent or loss to the victim(s)."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Illinois Bank exec accused in $2.4M fraud

A Chicago Ridge man was accused Thursday of fraudulently selling his bank customers promissory notes totaling $2.4 million, then using the money to gamble at casinos, renovate his home and make credit card payments.

Beginning in 2002 and lasting until January 2009, banking executive Glenn J. Kozeluh obtained money from customers by falsely stating the money would be placed as investments to collateralize loans to buy small banks, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District court.

Instead, Kozeluh used the money for personal expenses, the complaint said.

To lull the customers into a false sense of security, Kozeluh would also use the money to make interest payments and pay principal owed to existing promissory note holders, according to the complaint. He would create fake life insurance documents and then offer to customers additional collateral by assigning the insurance policy proceeds should his death occur before repayment of the promissory notes.

According to the charges, promissory note holders suffered losses totaling at least $2.4 million.

Former Missouri Bank President Pleads Guilty

Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the former president of Hume Bank in Bates County, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to making false statements to the FDIC as part of a bank fraud scheme that caused such significant losses that the bank was pushed into insolvency.

Jeffrey W. Thompson, 40, of Hume, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah W. Hays to the charges contained in a Dec. 1, 2009, federal indictment.

Thompson became president of Hume Bank in 2001. From Jan. 1, 2004, through Aug. 31, 2007, when he left the bank, Thompson concealed problem loans from state and federal bank examiners. Due primarily to loan losses on loans originated and administered by Thompson, in which he masked past due loans by altering loan maintenance records, the bank became insolvent and was closed by the Missouri Division of Finance on March 7, 2008. In order to meet obligations to depositors, the FDIC insurance fund sustained a loss of $4,324,463.

Thompson admitted that he masked past due loans by altering loan maintenance records. For example, past due principal was reduced to zero in 1,584 instances, past due interest was reduced to zero on 1,460 occasions, and 1,445 maturity dates were changed on the loan maintenance reports. The great majority of these changes were not supported by loan modification agreements in bank files. Thompson personally made the majority of the changes. The false loan maintenance reports concealed problem loans from state and federal bank examiners and from the bank’s board of directors.

Thompson also completed false Officer’s Questionnaires, by falsely stating that the bank had no accommodation loans, or nominee loans, and by falsely stating that the bank had no instances of capitalized interest. In truth, Thompson had made accommodation, or nominee loans, to relatives from which he personally profited, and had made loans which capitalized interest.

By pleading guilty today, Thompson agreed to forfeit to the government $300,000, which represents proceeds from the fraud scheme, or his residential property.

Under federal statutes, Thompson is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Mahoney. It was investigated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Former Greenwood, South Carolina Bank Manager Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement

A woman from Ninety-Six pled guilty in Federal Court to embezzling bank funds for over a year.

United States Attorney Bill Nettles said that 31-year old Kristen Miles Anderson pled guilty to embezzling bank funds and will be sentenced at a later date.

In a prepared statement, Nettles stated that evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Anderson, who was the branch manager of a Sun Trust bank in Greenwood, began taking money from her cash drawer beginning in or about October 2008 to pay personal expenses. According to the release, Nettles said Anderson changed her nightly cash figures to "force balance" and avoid detection. When she expected internal audits, Anderson forged withdrawl slips and took money from customer's accounts and stole in excess of $90,000 until bank officials and United States Secret Service agents discovered the wrongdoing in December 2009.

United States Secret Service agents revealed bank documents and interviewed Anderson. Nettles said Anderson waived her Miranda Rights and confessed to taking money from the cash drawer and stealing money from customer's accounts.

Anderson faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and or a $1,000,000 fine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ariel woman sentenced for embezzling from Ridgefield, Washington bank

An Ariel woman was sentenced to seven months in prison for embezzlement Monday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Authorities said Michele L. Chartier, 26, pleaded guilty in July to embezzling $60,000 from a vault and cash dispensing machines at the Ridgefield branch of the IQ Credit Union, where she worked as an assistant manager.

Chartier, who was first hired at the credit union in 2004, embezzled the money between March and September of last year, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Authorities said Chartier tricked a customer into signing loan papers, then used the proceeds of the fraudulent loan to cover her crime.

Chartier will also serve two months home detention following her prison term, authorities said.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Defendant locked up for contacting juror in Massachusetts

A Grafton Street man on trial on bank embezzlement and attempted counterfeiting charges was locked up today after the foreman of the deliberating jury in his case reported that she was approached by someone on his behalf over the weekend.
Judge Peter W. Agnes Jr. revoked George Labadie's release on personal recognizance after hearing from him and the female juror and ordered that Mr. Labadie remain in custody without bail until the conclusion of the Worcester Superior Court trial.
The juror, who was later discharged and replaced by an alternate juror, told Judge Agnes during a private sidebar conference this morning that Mr. Labadie was present Saturday when another man approached her at the restaurant where she worked, according to a summary of her comments the judge provided in open court.
When told by Judge Agnes that he was considering holding him in summary criminal contempt, Mr. Labadie asked to respond. Mr. Labadie said he and a man he identified as Chad Richardson happened to be in the restaurant in question Saturday, when he thought he recognized the woman as a juror in his case. He said he told Mr. Richardson he had to leave and did so after purchasing the sandwich he had ordered.
At some point while they were still in the restaurant, Mr. Richardson left his side, Mr. Labadie explained to Judge Agnes.
“I never sent anybody to approach anybody, your Honor,” he said.
Mr. Labadie went on to say that he first met the juror in question eight to ten years ago at a diner. He said he saw her on a couple of occasions after that and gave her his cell phone number.
On Wednesday, Oct. 13, two days after his trial began, Mr. Labadie said he was on the front steps of the courthouse smoking a cigarette when the juror walked by him and told him he looked familiar. She then said she considered all police officers “ ‘liars,'” according to Mr. Labadie.
After telling her he could not talk to her and starting to walk away, he received a cell phone call from the woman and hung up as soon as he recognized her voice, Mr. Labadie told the judge.
As he was leaving the courthouse that day, he said, he walked by the woman and she said, “ ‘Good night, sweetie,' ” according to Mr. Labadie. He described another courthouse encounter with the juror after she reportedly got on the elevator in which he was riding.
He said he did not recognize the woman as someone he knew during jury selection in his case and did not report their later conversations to the court or his lawyer, H. Hoover Garabedian, because he was frightened and did not know what to do.
Judge Agnes spoke to the juror privately again after hearing from Mr. Labadie. Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey T. Travers asked that Mr. Labadie be held on $100,000 cash bail during the pendency of his trial.
Mr. Labadie, 51, and his wife, 59-year-old Susan Carcieri, are accused of staging an Aug. 27, 2002, robbery at the Wyman_Gordon Federal Credit Union at 530 Grafton St., where Ms. Carcieri worked, and stealing $210,000. They are also facing attempted counterfeiting charges based on items police said they seized during a search of the couple's home at 521 Grafton St. two days after the reported robbery.
After Mr. Travers made his bail request this morning, Judge Agnes said he credited the testimony of the juror, and not Mr. Labadie, concerning their contacts. Saying he was concerned about the risk of jury “contamination,” he revoked Mr. Labadie's release on his own recognizance and ordered him held without bail until the trial is over.
The judge then excused the jury foreperson, replaced her with an alternate juror, and directed the jurors to begin their deliberations anew.
The jury had deliberated for more than 17 hours over three days without reaching a verdict.

Embezzlement victim awaits word on probe in Maine

The president of a statewide builders association said his organization has not been reimbursed nor given any information concerning the embezzlement of more than $82,000 last year by a bank employee.Charlie Huntington, president of the Maine Contractors and Builders Alliance Inc., said the organization's leaders have been very anxious to hear some news but have heard nothing from either the federal prosecutors or Camden National Bank.The alliance filed a lawsuit Jan. 21 in Knox County Superior Court in Rockland against Christina L. Torres-York of Warren, claiming she used her position as the organization's treasurer and as an employee of Camden National to siphon off $82,940."We struggled. We almost went out of business," Huntington said of the impact that the loss of the money had on the alliance.The organization is a nonprofit corporation with a stated mission of improving the building industry while providing quality housing for Maine people. The alliance has about 175 members comprising the building, banking, insurance and education fields.The alliance's president said the organization had built one home and was well into building another with the assumption that it had sufficient equity in the first structure to complete the second home. That is when the organization learned that Torres-York had taken money from the alliance.Torres-York served as its volunteer treasurer for several years until she resigned from the post under threat of removal on Nov. 13, 2009, according to the alliance's lawsuit.Torres-York was employed by Camden National Bank for nearly 20 years until she was fired on Oct. 16 when the bank learned she had withdrawn $749,402 from at least five customers' lines of credit, according to a separate lawsuit filed by Camden National.The alliance maintained a checking account at Camden National, a checking account at Bangor Savings Bank, and a line of credit at Bangor Savings. The lawsuit cites several instances of her withdrawing money from the Bangor Savings account held by the association made out to Camden National but the money was never deposited in the Camden National accounts.The association's checks that Torres-York made out to Camden National were cashed by her at Camden National and she took the cash, the association's lawsuit states.The association stated that when it heard about the large misappropriation of money from Camden National it checked with Torres-York and learned she was the subject of the investigation. The organization was soon contacted by law enforcement officials.Torres-York was asked to resign from the association and she did.Huntington said the bank's position is that Torres-York took the alliance's money through her role as the organization's treasurer and not her position as a bank employee. The alliance's president said, however, that she would not have been able to do what she did if not for her position with the bank.Camden National issued a brief statement last week saying it too was awaiting action on the criminal investigation. The bank stated that any customers affected by Torres-York's actions were made whole.Torres-York has not been charged with any criminal offenses. A spokesman with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Portland declined last week to comment on the Torres-York matter and would not even confirm that the matter is under investigation.A judge agreed to place a $750,000 lien on Torres-York's property for Camden National's claims and an $82,940 lien on behalf of the builders alliance.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trumbull man admits role in $4.8 million bank fraud in Connecticutt

A Trumbull man who ran an automated teller machine dispensing company admitted last week to being involved in a fraudulent scheme that cost Domestic Bank of Cranston, R.I. $4.8 million.Joseph Sarlo, 54, of Trumbull, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud during proceedings before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis. He faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 3.Sarlo served as chief executive officer of New England Cash Dispensing Systems, Inc. As part of a contract with Domestic Bank, Sarlo's company provided automated teller machines bearing the bank's logo in convenience stores and gas stations throughout the northeast. Under the terms of the agreement, Domestic would provide the cash to be used inside the machines to only some of them. Sarlo's firm and the merchants where the machines were located would provide the money to other machines.However, Sarlo admitted that from 2007 to February, 2010, he and others would order money in increments of $10,000, $6,000 and $4,000 from Domestic claiming it was being loaded into the bank's machines. The conspirators loaded the money into machines of New England Cash Dispensing and then provided the bank with a false accounting of the money.The case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Murphy.

Local Fifth Third Bank employee arrested on bank fraud charges in Indiana

.A Fifth Third Bank employee was charged with bank fraud after being accused of using customer information to create fraudulent accounts and to gain access real ones, according to court records unsealed this week.Tiffany Nelson was arrested Monday in Hammond and released on a $20,000 unsecured bond.
Nelson allegedly used her employment status with Fifth Third to access customer profiles and accounts -- or create new ones -- between August and November 2009 without customer permission, according to the indictment.It was unknown at which branch Nelson worked, or how much money she is charged with taking in the alleged scheme.Portage attorney Claudia Traficante, who is representing Nelson, did not return a call for comment Tuesday, and Fifth Third Bank declined to talk about the case."We can't offer any comment on an ongoing investigation," said Andrew Hayes, Fifth Third spokesman.When asked whether corporate policy regarding employees with pending criminal charges required job termination or suspension, Hayes said cases are evaluated individually."It just varies depending on the situation," he said. "But if any confidentiality has been breached, we would absolutely remove that person and then begin to repair."Nelson is scheduled to be arraigned in Hammond federal court at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich's courtroom.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mooresville, North Carolina banker charged with falsifying $1M in loans

A Mooresville community banker has pleaded guilty to giving herself more than $1 million in loans by falsifying loan applications with the names of straw borrowers, according to a plea agreement filed Monday by the U.S. Attorney's Office.Karen Floyd made at least 11 loans to herself worth $1.08 million while she was an executive at Southern Community Bank, according to court records. The loans were made between March 2006 and November 2009.A straw loan is made when the person whose name is on the loan application is not the person who will actually benefit from or pay back the loan. Straw borrowers may or may not know that their names have been used in connection with a loan. The U.S. Attorney's Office didn't say if any of the straw borrowers in the Floyd case knew that their names were being used. It did say Floyd was aided "by others known and unknown to the United States Attorney."Floyd's attorney, Charlotte lawyer Eben Rawls, did not return calls for comment.According to the charge, Floyd, 49, "caused payments to be made" on the straw loans. Authorities didn't specify how the false loans were detected, although in many cases, straw loans are discovered after the death of a person listed as a straw borrower. The FBI, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the N.C. Commissioner of Banks are also involved in the investigation.Floyd is charged with one count of "theft/embezzlement/misapplication by (a) bank officer," a charge that carries up to 30 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines. As part of the plea agreement, Floyd agreed to forfeit any property that authorities want to seize to repay the loans. She cannot work again at any bank that is FDIC insured. If jailed, she must participate in the Bureau of Prisons Inmate Financial Responsibility Program.The U.S. Attorney's Office didn't say how Floyd had spent the money. Property records list her as an owner of a house in Salisbury worth $458,000 and a house in Vass worth $106,000.
Since the summer, there have been several charges against former Charlotte-area bankers accused of stealing from their companies or their clients. They range from a former Bank of America branch manager charged with accepting bribes worth $38,000 to a former Wachovia distribution executive who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $11 million from the bank by falsifying contractor invoices.Floyd became Southern Community's Lake Norman regional executive around August 2006, leading the bank's push into the Charlotte area and working on business development, branch management and retail lending. Before joining Southern Community, she worked at Wachovia and SunTrust, according to the bank's 2006 annual report."Karen is an excellent fit for a leader in the booming Charlotte-Statesville corridor," the bank said at the time.As a regional executive, Floyd served as the bank's face at various community events. Last year, she represented Southern Community at a statewide meeting of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, according to meeting records, and made an appearance when the bank donated to the local YMCA following the opening of a Mooresville branch.Southern Community's president did not return calls for comment.Southern Community Bank, based in Winston-Salem, is. like many small banks, struggling with troubled loans and low demand for new loans. In the second quarter, the bank lost $371,000 for common shareholders.The bank has 22 branches, mostly in the western half of North Carolina, and about 300 employees, according to the company website. Its motto is "Small Enough to Care." Staff researcher Maria David contributed.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Currency exchange employee allegedly made off with nearly $10K in Chicago

A long-time employee of Harlem & 159th Street Currency Exchange allegedly stole more than $9,800 from the store through 12 transaction performed for customers between July 30 and Oct. 1.

According to Tinley Park Police, the money was reported stolen from the store after the transactions were discovered when the woman didn’t return to work on Oct. 4.

The latest transaction was made on Oct. 1 when $1,000 was stolen. Police say it appears the employee entered amounts higher than requested by customers and then kept the excess cash.

The woman worked at the store for 10 years and hasn’t reported to work since Oct. 1, police said Monday.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Former Massachusetts Bank Branch Manager Charged in Mortgage Scam

A former Bank of America branch manager was charged today in federal court with wire fraud and bank fraud for his role in connection with a multi-year, multiproperty mortgage fraud scheme in Dorchester and Roxbury. ARTHUR SAMUELS, 36, of Mattapan, was charged in an Indictment with six counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud. The Indictment alleges that from September 2006 to July 2008, SAMUELS and others committed fraud in connection with the purported sale of condominium units in Dorchester. According to the charges, developer Michael David Scott arranged to purchase multi-family dwellings and then sold individual units in the buildings to straw buyers recruited by Scott, SAMUELS, and others. The straw buyers’ financing for the purchases was obtained by submitting mortgage loan applications that falsely represented key information, such as the buyers’ assets, down payment and intention to reside in the condominiums. SAMUELS also caused false verifications of deposit to be created in support of loan applications submitted to lenders in the names of straw buyers, and acted as a straw buyer himself on three property transactions. In most instances the lenders were led to believe that the straw buyers had made substantial down payments and paid substantial sums at closings.If convicted, SAMUELS faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for each count of wire fraud, and up to 30 years imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million for bank fraud.United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation – Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Victor A. Wild and Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.The details contained in the Indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Mortgage fraud is a key focus of the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice alongside its federal, state and local partners is committed to investigating and prosecuting significant financial crimes. The Department is committed to combating discrimination and fraud in the lending and financial markets, and recovering proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

Woman Gets Probation in West Virginia Embezzlement Case

A Glen Dale woman who embezzled more than $40,000 from BB&T bank in Moundsville was placed on three years probation Friday for her crime.Marshall County Circuit Judge Mark A. Karl handed down the sentence to Connie Derrow, 64, despite the prosecution requesting she be incarcerated for her crime.
Derrow pleaded guilty in July to embezzling $44,000.75 from the BB&T bank on Jefferson Avenue. According to the criminal complaint, Derrow worked there as a vault teller and was responsible for receiving cash deposits from area businesses.The embezzlement occurred over five months between October 2008 and February 2009. A coworker reported Derrow to bank officials after discovering suspicious receipts Derrow had processed.During an internal investigation, it was discovered Derrow would steal money from the cash deposits and process the money as if it had been deposited, the complaint states. When questioned about the missing funds, Derrow reportedly said she had used the money at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and planned to pay it back after she "hit the jackpot."Derrow spoke of her gambling addiction Friday, telling Karl she believed it is a shame that gambling came to the area in the first place."I am still struggling with it," she said.Though she had paid about $4,000 in restitution to the bank prior to a hearing in September, Derrow has not made payments since then. Derrow admitted to Karl that in the past few months she had attempted to acquire money to pay restitution by gambling. Marshall County Assistant Prosecutor Eric Gordon said though BB& officials had said they preferred restitution over jail time for Derrow, they were not opposed to time being imposed and he requested that Derrow serve time.However, in handing down the sentence, Karl said Derrow's age and lack of criminal history was reason enough to allow her to remain free and on probation.''I can't in good conscience put her in a penitentiary,'' he said.Karl sentenced Derrow to one to 10 years in jail, suspended for three years probation. Along with the regular stipulations of probation, Derrow must seek employment within the next 30 days and provide proof to the court.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Polo, Missouri Woman Pleads Guilty to $414,000 Bank Theft

Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Polo, Missouri woman pled guilty in federal court today to embezzling more than $414,000 from Bank Northwest, where she was employed in Polo and Hamilton, Missouri.

Laurine K. Calvert, 55, of Polo, waived her right to a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to a federal information that charges her with embezzlement by a bank employee.

Calvert admitted that she embezzled $414,124 from Bank Northwest from Feb. 10, 2003, to Feb. 8, 2010. Calvert was employed by Bank Northwest in both Polo and Hamilton as a teller and bank loan secretary.

Calvert took money from five separate customer accounts. She later created four fictitious loans, using part of the funds from these loans to replace the money she had taken from customer accounts. Calvert used the rest of the loan money for her personal benefit, giving some to family members and spending some during her monthly trips to gamble at Kansas City casinos.

Under federal statutes, Calvert is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lake County bank employee charged with stealing money, identities of elderly and dead customers in Florida

A Lake County woman who worked at a credit union and a bank stole money from both financial institutions and elderly customers, according to an indictment that estimates she embezzled more than $400,000.Nazreen Mohammed, 47, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of bank fraud or embezzlement.She worked at as a loan officer at Fairwinds Credit Union in 2009 where she used her status as an employee to access customer accounts, creating loans and making withdrawals from customers, many of whom were elderly or dead.Authorities said Mohammed tried to disguise her schemes with multiple transactions.The federal indictment alleges that Mohammed tried to steal $127,000 from the credit union and its customers and more than $300,000 from customers of a Lake County branch of the Royal Bank of Canada.She tapped account information of some of that bank's elderly customers, too. The indictment said she used information from the accounts to make unauthorized withdrawals and change account beneficiary designations.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Former Bank Employee Indicted for Stealing Funds Held in Trust in Texas

A former administrative assistant in the Trust Department of a Galveston branch of Frost Bank has been indicted by a federal grand jury for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Michele Lauryn Osteen, 27, of Houston, charged in a 16-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Houston on Sept. 27, 2010, surrendered to federal authorities today and is expected to appear before United States Magistrate Judge John R. Froeschner in Galveston at 2:00 p.m. today where the issue of bond is expected to be raised.The 16-count indictment accuses Osteen of 15 counts of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. The indictment alleges that between June 23, 2008, and June 16, 2010, Osteen defrauded Frost Bank, an FDIC-insured depository institution, by stealing approximately $95,000 in funds from trusts it administered.The Trust Department of Frost Bank served as trustee for a number of different trusts including trusts set up for the health, education, support and maintenance of minors and incapacitated adults, many of whom received large sums of money following severe injuries. As trustee for such trusts, the bank managed significant assets for those beneficiaries, which included paying their daily living expenses and making other disbursements on their behalves.The indictment alleges Osteen fraudulently obtained funds from numerous trust accounts by requesting disbursements from the accounts in the form of Frost Bank checks, representing that the disbursements were legitimate expenditures typical for the trusts she helped manage, when in fact they were for her financial benefit.
According to the indictment, once Frost Bank issued the checks, Osteen allegedly requested checks be sent to her branch in Galveston, where she took possession of the checks and used them in various ways for her personal benefit. On some occasions, Osteen allegedly instructed Frost Bank to make the checks payable to companies, creditors and other entities to which she owed money and paid personal bills, debt and fines. On other occasions, the indictment alleges Osteen instructed Frost Bank to make the checks payable to Frost Bank or to a trust beneficiary, which she then used to obtain money orders she spent or deposited into her accounts. A few times, Osteen instructed Frost Bank to make the checks payable to a retailer, then, according to the indictment, used the funds for shopping at that retailer. Many times, she allegedly instructed Frost Bank to make the checks payable to a healthcare provider, which she then altered by typing an instruction on the checks to reflect that they were for cashier’s checks for “MLO,” a fictitious entity. Osteen then used those altered checks to obtain cashier’s checks from Frost Bank, which she deposited into her accounts. To avoid detection, according to the indictment, Osteen obtained the money orders and cashier’s checks at her Frost Bank branch, where she was known and therefore less scrutinized, but deposited them at a different Frost Bank branch in Galveston. The indictment accuses Osteen of obtaining approximately $95,000 in this fraudulent manner, which she allegedly used to fund a high-consumption lifestyle. Each of the 15 counts of bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of up to 30 years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $1 million, upon conviction. A conviction for aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year term of imprisonment which must be served consecutive to any term of imprisonment imposed for any bank fraud convictions. The FBI’s Texas City Resident Agency, with the assistance of Frost Bank, led the investigation leading to the charges. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen L. Corso is prosecuting the case.An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.

Ex-Park Avenue Bank Chief Antonucci Pleads Guilty to Embezzling TARP Money

Charles Antonucci, the former president of Park Avenue Bank in Manhattan, pleaded guilty to charges he lied to regulators and embezzled bank funds. Antonucci, 59, told U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald today that he lied to get more than $11 million in federal bailout funds for the bank, took bribes and embezzled money and participated in a scheme to defraud Oklahoma insurance regulators in the $37.5 million sale of an insurer that was later forced into receivership. Prosecutors said Antonucci is the first person convicted of trying to defraud the U.S. Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was passed by Congress to prop up threatened banks. Antonucci pleaded guilty to criminal counts including fraud, bribery, embezzlement and conspiracy. Antonucci, who was arrested in March, is free on $2 million bail. He faces as much as 20 years in prison on the most serious counts when he’s sentenced in April.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Falling Waters, West Virginia man accused of embezzling money

A 22-year-old Falling Waters, W.Va., man is accused of embezzling $5,500 from a woman’s bank account while he worked as a teller at the Inwood, W.Va., branch of BB&T, according to court records.
Cody Allen Seibert, of 35 Galbus Court, was arraigned Wednesday on one felony count of embezzlement by Berkeley County Magistrate Sandra L. Miller, according to court records. Berkeley County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael St. Clair found the defendant used the woman’s money he took June 30 to buy a 1998 Kawasaki motorcycle for $3,400 and a laptop computer from Best Buy, according to court records.Seibert’s girlfriend told police that Seibert was making $500 payments on the motorcycle and that the laptop was from a friend, according to court records. His girlfriend, however, told police that she later found a receipt indicating that the laptop was actually purchased at Best Buy, according to court records. Kelly Lupis, a bank fraud investigator for BB&T, told police that Seibert changed his story about how he handled a supposed request by the victim to withdraw $5,500 from her account, according to court records. Lupis indicated the transaction, as Seibert explained it, would have been nearly impossible to complete in less than two minutes and between two other transactions, according to court records. Seibert also would not have had enough $100 bills in his drawer to complete the transaction as he had claimed and would have had to use $20 bills, Lupis told police, according to court records. The motorcycle owner told police that Seibert paid him for the bike with $20 bills, according to court records. Seibert is no longer employed by BB&T.

Petal, Mississippi woman sentenced for embezzlement

U.S. District Court Judge Keith Starrett sentenced a Petal woman who pleaded guilty to embezzlement to 15 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release today.Pamela Swilley, 40, was a loan officer at the Hancock Bank branch in Petal.In addition to her prison sentence, Swilley must also pay $83,414.87 in restitution to the bank for funds embezzled. “The only thing I know what to say is that I’m truly sorry,” Swilley said. “I’ve ruined my life and a lot of other lives. It’s been hell.”

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Texas Bank exec to plead guilty

A former La Coste National Bank vice president plans to plead guilty to a charge of embezzling $30,000 from the financial institution. Mary Magdalene Crawford is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday to the alleged embezzlement scheme, which was detected in February after the bank was shut down by regulators because of unrelated fraudulent activity.
John Kuntz, Crawford's lawyer, said he anticipates his client will be placed on probation given that she has no prior criminal history and she already has raised at least half of the $40,000 she would have to pay in restitution. The sentencing guidelines call for a prison term of six to 12 months, Kuntz calculated. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years and a maximum fine of $1 million.“She admitted to the wrongdoing all along,” Kuntz said. “She's very sorry for it.”The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed La Coste National Bank and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver on Feb. 19. About two months later, Jody P. Gwyn, La Coste's former president, was indicted on charges he caused more than $7.3 million in losses at the bank. Plea negotiations are under way, though Gwyn has denied personally profiting.According to a plea agreement filed in Crawford's case on Friday, Crawford stated she fraudulently prepared 10 cashier checks worth $3,000 each and used the money to pay bills. Most of the checks were cashed in the last quarter of 2009.
Crawford balanced the bank's cashier's check account by withdrawing money from a customer's individual retirement account, the plea agreement states. She later reversed the transaction on Feb. 10.
The plea agreement states Crawford also stole $10,000 from the bank's vault, though that charge will be dropped as part of the plea. The money will be repaid as part of the restitution, however, Kuntz said.
Kuntz said Crawford had no knowledge of the fraudulent activity that led to the bank's closure.

Norwalk, Ohio Man Charged with Bank Embezzlement

Kylee A. Adams, 27, of Norwalk, Ohio, was charged in a criminal information with embezzling approximately $14,000.00 over a seven month period from the KeyBank, Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced today. If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to each case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The investigating agency in this case is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas A. Karol.

An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Prison sentence for bank embezzler delayed because of hip surgery in South Dakota

She is almost 68 years old and facing hip surgery -- and Margaret Hussey is going to prison for embezzlement.The Rapid City woman, who pleaded guilty to stealing almost $100,000 and manipulating more than $200,000 in First Western Federal Security Bank funds over a three-year period, was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison, with seven years suspended. Seventh Circuit Judge Janine Kern refused to give Hussey the suspended imposition of sentence her attorney requested.The judge also bypassed a court service recommendation for a probationary sentence.Hussey, who is scheduled to have hip surgery Oct. 12, must begin serving her sentence six weeks after the surgery.She will be eligible for parole after nine months in prison.Hussey worked as a bank teller for more than 20 years. Her theft was discovered after she was terminated, according to bank president Jeff Fullerton.Fullerton declined to say why Hussey was fired.
After the sentencing, Fullerton praised the Rapid City Police Department and the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office for their professionalism in handling the case.Fullerton testified at Hussey’s sentencing, along with Janet Dowlin. Dowlin’s mother and two aunts were among Hussey’s victims.Dowlin said Hussey’s deception was particularly difficult for her. She described the former teller as “like family” to her late mother and two aunts. Hussey and Dowlin grew up together and attended school together, Dowlin said.
Hussey was very good to Dowlin’s elderly mother and aunts, bringing cinnamon rolls for Saturday morning coffee visits -- but all the time she was stealing from them, Dowlin said.According to testimony in court Tuesday, Hussey manipulated interest payments on certificates of deposits and intercepted inquires about accounts.“The idea that she could do this is very upsetting,” Dowlin said.The small, privately owned bank placed considerable trust in its employees and gives them a lot of responsibility, Fullerton testified.Employees can identify their customers by the sound of their voices on the phone, Fullerton said.Hussey laughed and joked with co-workers and customers, while all the time, she was stealing, forging and lying, Fullerton said.
Fullerton accused Hussey of “self-centered greed.” She used the money for travel, eating out, getting her hair fixed and helping her children, he said.Since Hussey’s crime was uncovered, the bank has made many changes and implemented several safeguards.The bank is insured. Customers’ losses were covered, Fullerton said.“The greatest damage was tarnishing the reputation of the bank in the community and with our customers,” Fullerton said, looking directly at Hussey.Hussey’s victims were all elderly, Pennington County deputy state’s attorney Gina Nelson said.Hussey was very good at covering her tracks and did a lot of calculating of interest payments, Nelson said.“She robbed Peter to pay Paul,” Nelson said.Nelson asked Kern to give Hussey a prison sentence, noting that the defendant did not cooperate with the investigation.
Nelson said that Hussey has failed to show “true, genuine remorse” for her crime.Hussey’s actions harmed the community, the bank and the individuals she stole from, 7th Circuit Judge Janine Kern agreed.Hussey’s actions reduced the public’s trust in the bank, Kern said.Kern ordered Hussey to pay back more than $109,000 in restitution. The restitution includes $8,061.30 to the bank, $1,828.50 to the Pennington County State’s Attorney’s Office and $99,227.88 to the bank’s insurance carrier. Hussey also owes $3,362 in attorney’s fees for her court appointed attorney, plus court costs.Hussey, who has lost her home, is living with a friend.Kern ordered that at least 20 percent of any future income be used for restitution.