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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bank of Colorado Officer Sentenced to Federal Prison for Fraud

Patricia Cabano, age 56, of West Sacramento, California, a former bookkeeper and operations manager of the Bank of Colorado in Craig, Colorado, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge John L. Kane to serve 40 months in federal prison for bank fraud, U.S. Attorney David Gaouette and FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis announced. Following her prison sentence, Cabano was ordered to serve five years on supervised release. Judge Kane also ordered the defendant to pay restitution totaling $535,530.67 to the victims of the fraud. Cabano is also not allowed to work in the financial industry again. The defendant appeared at the hearing free on bond, and was ordered to report to a Bureau of Prisons facility within 15 days of designation.Patricia Cabano was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on May 6, 2009. She pled guilty before Judge Kane on April 5, 2010. She was sentenced today, June 18, 2010.According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, Cabano, as head bookkeeper and later operations officer at the Bank of Colorado, used her position, knowledge of operations, and her largely unsupervised access to customers’ accounts to facilitate her fraud. Over the period of July 1998 through November 2002, Cabano abused her position by making numerous unauthorized electronic transfers from unsuspecting customers’ accounts to her own accounts and the accounts of customers she favored as well as some of her family members. The holders of the accounts that benefitted from the scheme were able to withdraw funds that were not rightfully theirs.The defendant usually made transfers from one account to another, but she also made transfers to and from more than one account at a time as part of one transaction. She transferred funds in amounts consistent with transactions typically made in the particular accounts she was using, so as not to draw attention to the transactions. She frequently performed several transactions in one day, sometimes manipulating several customers’ accounts to conceal the fraud, even if she were not funneling additional funds that day to an account of a beneficiary. Cabano was aware that account holders would be unlikely to detect unauthorized manipulations of their accounts if they didn’t examine their monthly statements, or if their monthly statements appeared to be correct. To perpetuate her fraud and avoid detection, Cabano developed elaborate means of re-crediting those accounts before the end of their statement cycles to conceal the unauthorized transfers, and creating and distributing false monthly statements. She also back-dated certain electronic entries to conceal her fraud. If a customer complained or inquired about the unauthorized transfer, the Bank would refer customers to the defendant to respond to the inquiries and complaints.“People put their trust in banks, and when a bank employee steals from customers, it reduces the confidence people have in their financial institutions,” said U.S. Attorney David Gaouette. “This is one of the more complicated internal fraud cases with a single suspect that the FBI has investigated in the Denver Division,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis.This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).Cabano was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Kaufman.

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