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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blind justice: 10 years for former Alabama bank clerk

A Decatur woman who stole thousands from a blind woman’s bank account stood poised with her attorney seeking probation for a first-degree theft conviction, but a judge gave her prison time Monday.“Your record is clean, but there are some things I can’t get over, and this is one of them. I’m sentencing you to 10 years in prison,” Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson told Kerry Bozell during her sentencing hearing.
Assistant District Attorney Stacy Adams asked the judge to consider Bozell’s denial of a confession she gave investigators in contemplating her sentence.“I don’t know any other way to put it, judge: She lied,” Adams said.Bozell’s attorney, Hubert Porter, said he would appeal the case. Thompson set an appeal bond of $30,000. Deputies took Bozell to the County Jail pending her posting bail on the bond.A jury convicted Bozell, 45, in April of first-degree theft involving money she embezzled from Gwendolyn “Gwen” Lamon, a 79-year-old blind woman. Bozell, of 1002 Way Thru the Woods, was Lamon’s personal banker at the downtown Regions Bank location.Testimony during Bozell’s trial revealed that Lamon’s caregivers found discrepancies in her bank accounts.The caregivers and Lamon arranged a meeting with the bank’s president, who instructed the bank’s security manager to investigate. The manager arranged a setup to catch Bozell during a transaction. Lamon and a caregiver went to the bank June 4, 2009, to withdraw $750. They did so and Bozell added $1,000 more than the requested amount, but did not give it to Lamon, according to testimony. The security manager confronted Bozell 30 minutes later and searched her purse, but didn’t find the extra money. He searched her desk drawer and found customer receipts that she had not given to Lamon as the bank requires. Bozell had used the embezzlement scheme, stealing from Lamon’s account between March and June 2009, authorities said. Decatur Police Detective Justin Lyon probed the theft and ultimately arrested Bozell on July 8. A grand jury later indicted her. Lyon said Bozell confessed she stole the money because she feared her husband was going to lose his job.During her trial, outside the jury’s presence, she denied making the statement.The bank reimbursed $9,500 to Lamon. During Bozell’s sentencing Monday, Thompson ordered her to pay that amount in restitution to the bank.

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