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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bank embezzler gets prison in Montana

.A former bank employee in Forsyth who embezzled $84,000 and used some of the money for fertility treatments will spend a year in federal prison.

Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull on Thursday sentenced Courtney Marie Batey, 31, of Hysham to a year and a day in prison and ordered her to pay $84,040 restitution.
"I am extremely remorseful," Batey said. "It will never happen again."
Assistant federal defender Steve Babcock asked for leniency, saying depression, anxiety and medical problems that made it difficult to become pregnant led Batey to make poor choices.
Some of the money Batey stole went to pay for fertility treatments, Babcock said. And while admitting that Batey lived beyond her means, Babcock said she had a modest lifestyle.
Batey had no criminal history and cooperated when confronted with the thefts, Babcock said.
A six-month sentence to a halfway house would allow Batey, who has a young daughter, to continue with mental health counseling, Babcock said. Batey is more concerned with others than herself and was extremely remorseful, he said.
The judge declined the defense's recommendation but gave Batey a break by sentencing her below the guideline range of 15 months to 21 months.
The sentence will allow Batey to earn good time, which would shorten her sentence by about 15 percent.
Prison time is necessary, Cebull said, to reflect the seriousness of the crime, provide punishment and serve as a deterrent to others.
Batey pleaded guilty in August to one count of bank embezzlement. Batey worked as a teller at the Wells Fargo Bank in Forsyth for six years until July 2009, when she was promoted to teller/service manager.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Archer said Batey took advantage of her supervisory position to steal money from her teller drawer for about 18 months. She replaced the stolen funds with money she took from customer accounts when the customers cashed in certificates of deposit.
The embezzlement was discovered when a customer complained about being shorted $5,000 when she redeemed two CDs, Archer said. The bank compensated the customers for their losses.
Archer said there was nothing unique about Batey's case and that a 15-month sentence was reasonable. Batey stole a significant amount not only from her employer but also from customers, he said.
Batey used the money for personal gain by buying a $46,000 pickup truck and a $6,300 four-wheeler for her family in addition spending about $21,000 on medical expenses, Archer said.
Cebull said he would recommend that Batey serve her time in a medical facility and allowed her to report to the prison.

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