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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bank employee accused of embezzlement in California

Norma Pena, 37, of Delhi, was arrested Friday after a federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment Thursday, charging her with embezzlement by a bank employee of more than $217,000 and criminal forfeiture, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said.
Pena was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Beck for arraignment in Fresno on Friday.
According to the indictment, Pena was an assistant branch manager at the Citibank branch in Ceres and used her position to embezzle more than $217,000 between March 2009 and February 2010.
As assistant branch manager, Pena oversaw daily branch operations, operational controls, the teller line and bank teller employees.
The indictment alleges that as part of her scheme, Pena created her own teller cash drawer over which she had control.
A teller cash drawer contains the cash received by a specific branch employee or teller from various bank sources such as branch customers, the branch vault, and other branch tellers. Any amounts of cash placed in a specific cash drawer are tallied by an electronic branch accounting system, which also records the total amount.
When Pena would receive cash, instead of placing it in her cash drawer, she would allegedly keep some of it for herself. The branch accounting system would electronically show that the cash had been placed in her cash drawer. As a result, her cash drawer contained less cash than the amount shown electronically, the news release said.
To hide the alleged discrepancy, Pena would make electronic transfers in the branch accounting system, purportedly from her cash drawer to the branch automatic-teller machine vault systems, without actually transferring any cash from her cash drawer to the ATM vaults. Pena would then oversee the cash counts of the ATM vaults and other cash counts at the branch, in which she would cover up the amount of cash missing, the news release continued.
During her alleged scheme, Pena also engaged in check kiting by writing checks with insufficient funds from one financial account to cover and keep afloat insufficient checks she had written on other financial accounts.
If convicted of the charges, Pena faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

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