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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Efforts made to ‘resolve’ bank embezzlement in Adrian, Michigan

A hearing in an alleged embezzlement of more than $150,000 from OSB Community Bank’s Onsted branch was adjourned a month to give the defense time to review audit reports and other evidence.Adrian attorney Stanley Sala was recently hired by long-time bank employee Sylvia Anita Wallace to defend her against an embezzlement charge. A public defender was appointed to represent Wallace when she was arraigned Aug. 6 in Lenawee County District Court.Sala was granted a motion on Monday to adjourn Wallace’s preliminary examination to Sept. 20. There is a large volume of documents and reports to review, he said.“We want to verify the accounting,” Sala said.OSB Community Bank had a forensic audit conducted after internal auditing in June revealed a large sum of money missing from the Onsted branch. The bank reported an amount between $150,000 and $200,000 was taken at least since Dec. 1 through June 23, said Lenawee County Undersheriff James Anderson.The investigation immediately focused on Wallace because of her position of being in charge of the branch’s vault, Anderson said.“She has cooperated,” he said after her arraignment. Sala said Wednesday that Wallace is continuing to cooperate.“Sylvia, of course, is making every effort to resolve this in the best interest of the bank, and is considerate of how she is affecting everybody,” Sala said. “It is extremely regretful and sorrowful.”Sala said Wallace is concerned about her former co-workers. “All these employees she worked with are good people. Good, honorable people,” Sala said. The embezzlement case has caused bank customers to question the impact of the loss.The bank issued a statement even before Wallace was arraigned, assuring customers and shareholders that no individuals lost any money and that OSB Community Bank remains financially sound.“No customer or shareholder lost money in this event, and no other details are forthcoming at this time. OSB Community Bank is well capitalized and is a strong community bank established in 1907,” said the statement by Charles Maurer, OSB Community Bank president and CEO.The charge Wallace now faces, embezzlement $100,000 or more, carries a maximum 20-year prison term. She remains free on personal recognizance while awaiting a preliminary examination next month.
A third adjournment was granted Tuesday in Lenawee County District Court for a preliminary examination in the case of an Onsted woman accused of embezzling more than $150,000 from the Onsted branch of OSB Community Bank.

The hearing for Sylvia Anita Wallace, 45, was rescheduled for Dec. 13 after a defense attorney and prosecutor agreed to the delay. The two sides are working toward agreements that may resolve the case. She remains free on personal recognizance.

Wallace was arraigned Aug. 12 on a charge of embezzlement $100,000 or more, a felony carrying a maximum 20-year prison term. She allegedly took money from the bank at least since Dec. 1 last year. An investigation was started in June after discrepancies in bank records were discovered.

Bank officials have said no customers have lost any money.

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