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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Former Casper, Wyoming teller admits to embezzlement scheme

A former Wells Fargo bank teller admitted Friday to a scheme in which she and another worker embezzled more than $70,000 from the downtown Casper branch. Erin Adamson told a judge she and the other teller would move cash between their drawers and the bank vault to hide the theft during audits.
"The audits were not a surprise," she said. "Everybody knew they were coming."
Appearing in U.S. District Court in Casper, Adamson admitted to the scheme as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. She pleaded guilty to bank embezzlement and conspiracy.
Under the deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a second embezzlement charge.
According to federal guidelines, Adamson could be sentenced to anywhere from 10 to 16 months of confinement. Prosecutors have agreed to make a recommendation for home or intermittent confinement, but a judge will make the final determination.
If her case had proceeded to trial, the 28-year-old could have faced the possibility of up to 90 years behind bars.
Adamson said she was working as head teller when she began embezzling money from Wells Fargo in October 2008. The other teller, Amanda Johnson, became involved in the embezzlement a month or two later, Adamson explained.
"We never really talked about it," she told Magistrate Judge Michael Shickich. "It just happened that way."
Adamson, who remains free pending her sentencing, estimated the conspiracy netted roughly $60,000. She stole another $10,000 out of the cash vault by hiding it in her boot. She used the cash to cover other money that she had stolen.
The vault required two codes to get inside. Each woman originally knew one of the codes.
Adamson told Shickich she didn't know how often the women would embezzle money. She did say she learned both codes and went into the vault five times without Johnson's help.
Johnson is also charged with conspiracy to commit embezzlement. Federal prosecutors and Johnson's attorney, Stefanie Boster, have also discussed a potential plea deal, but did not resolve the matter, according to court papers filed Feb. 26 by Assistant U.S. Attorney Darrell Fun.
In the statement, Fun indicated he believed Johnson's case would proceed to trial on March 22.
A federal grand jury indicted the women in January. Both defendants initially pleaded not guilty.

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