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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Employee charged with stealing more than $150,000 from Onsted, Michigan bank

An Onsted woman was charged Thursday with embezzling more than $150,000 from a bank branch in the village where she was a longtime employee.An investigation of funds discovered missing in June brought OSB Community Bank teller Sylvia Anita Wallace, 45, into Lenawee County District Court. She was arraigned on a felony charge of embezzlement of more than $100,000.A public defender was assigned to represent Wallace at an Aug. 23 preliminary examination after she told the court she could not afford to hire an attorney. She remains free on personal recognizance.Wallace could face a maximum 20-year prison term if convicted of the embezzlement charge.A statement issued by Sheriff Jack Welsh said an investigation that led to Wallace’s arrest began in late June. He said OSB Community Bank officials reported discovering major discrepancies during a routine internal audit.Welsh said Wallace was suspected “due to her position at the bank, and subsequent investigation confirmed her involvement.”Wallace was in charge of the branch’s vault as well as being a teller, said Undersheriff James Anderson, and that fact focused the investigation on her.“She has cooperated,” Anderson said. None of the missing funds, however, have been recovered, he said. An amount between $150,000 and $200,000 was reported missing by bank officials.According to court documents, the money was allegedly taken between Dec. 1 and June 23. The embezzlement, however, may have occurred over a longer period of time, Anderson said.No customers or shareholders lost any money in the embezzlement, said a news release issued by Charles Maurer, OSB Community Bank president and CEO.“OSB Community Bank is well capitalized and is a strong community bank established in 1907,” Maurer said in the written statement. The bank is not releasing details of the incident at the Onsted branch, he stated.Welsh also said in his statement that no bank customers lost any funds and that OSB Community Bank is continuing normal operations.

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