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Monday, September 19, 2011

Former Harrisonburg, Virginia Businessman Indicted on 24 Charges

A Harrisonburg man is facing 24 fraud-related charges following an indictment by a Federal Grand Jury.

Russell Kinnard Henry, Jr., 59, was charged with eight counts of bank fraud, eight counts of theft, the embezzlement or misapplication by a bank officer and eight counts of making a false statement for the purpose of influencing a financial institution.

Henry is the former City/Community Executive and Senior Vice President of FNB Southeast.

According to the indictment, between May 2003 and June 2005, Henry misrepresented himself to be his Alzheimer’s Disease stricken mother, Mary Henry, in loan documentation in order to secure lines of credit in his mother’s name.

The applications for credit were made to the defendant’s employer, FNB Southeast.

The defendant did not disclose the nature of his relationship on the loan applications to FNB Southeast.

In numerous fraudulent applications allegedly filed by Henry, the defendant falsely stated that his mother was the one making the application and misrepresented her annual income.

He also may have acted as the loan officer for each application and approved every loan himself.

Henry was fraudulently issued $1,910,101 in loans in his mother’s name.

The indictment alleges that Henry then withdrew money from the loan accounts in order to pay his mortgage and real estate taxes.

He also allegedly used the money to purchase a Dodge Durango, Coca Cola memorabilia and Petro signs.

Some of the alleged withdraws came following the May 25, 2005 death of his mother, and loan recipient, Mary Henry.

If convicted, the maximum penalty faced by the defendant at sentencing is 30 years incarceration and/or a fine of up to $1 million on each of the 24 counts.

The FBI conducted the investigation.

Bank Manager Sentenced to Three Years in Federal Prison for Embezzlement in Illinois

Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Mills today sentenced a former manager of a Petersburg bank, Stephen R. Bradley, 65, to serve 36 months (three years) in federal prison for embezzling from his employer. Bradley was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $975,102.50. Bradley was ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons on a date to be determined by the BOP to begin serving his prison term. Following completion of his prison sentence, Bradley was ordered to remain under supervised release for a period of five years.

On Jan. 21, 2011, Bradley waived indictment and entered a plea of guilty to an information charging him with one count of embezzlement. Bradley admitted that he embezzled approximately $834,945 from January 2003 to March 1, 2010, while he was an employee of Petefish Skiles & Co. Bank in Petersburg, Illinois. The court also found that Bradley had embezzled an additional $140,157.50 from the bank in other accounts.

The charge is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in cooperation with the bank. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason M. Bohm

A former credit union employee who admitted stealing more than $100,000 from the credit union and from her grandparents’ account will spend about a year in federal prison.

A former credit union employee who admitted stealing more than $100,000 from the credit union and from her grandparents’ account will spend about a year in federal prison.

Senior U.S. District Judge Jack Shanstrom on Wednesday sentenced Sarah Anne Housley, 34, to one year and a day in prison, The sentence qualifies her for a shorter sentence with good behavior. He also ordered her to pay $110,690 restitution and allowed her to report to prison when assigned to a facility.

“I’m just sorry for what happened. I did abuse the trust of co-workers and my grandparents. I was just in a horrible place,” Housley said.

Housley told the court that she felt threatened by her husband and was concerned for her children. “I just didn’t have any options at the time,” she said.

Housley’s attorney, Brian Kohn, recommended a sentence to a halfway house where Housley could still have family support and contact with her children. Housley’s stealing was triggered by an abusive husband, he said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Archer objected to a community corrections sentence.

“Giving her a break here would be 12 months and one day,” he said.

Housley pleaded guilty in April to one count of bank embezzlement for stealing from the Montana Health Federal Credit Union, where she had been employed for seven years.

An investigation found that Housley, who worked as a business development officer, stole $94,158 from her grandparents’ account in hundreds of transactions and embezzled additional money from her teller drawer.

The thefts occurred from January 2008 to July 2010. An investigation began when the credit union’s chief executive officer, Sherry Essmann, noticed that Housley was having problems balancing her personal account.

Essmann asked the judge to send a message that he does not excuse criminal behavior based on a criminal’s family situation and that embezzlement will not be tolerated in the community. The monetary loss was only part of the “devastation” that Housley caused, she said.

“She cheated people who believed in her and depended on her,” Essmann said. “Not only has Ms. Housley caused our credit union financial loss, but she has single-handedly created an atmosphere of skepticism, suspicion and doubt within the ranks at the credit union. Our dedicated, resilient staff has worked hard to repair the emotional damage,” she said.

“Because I decided to do the right thing and pursue prosecution of this crime on behalf of the credit union membership, our credit union has been threatened and I have been personally vilified in front of family and friends,” Essmann said.

The credit union reimbursed Housley’s grandparents for their losses, while the credit union’s insurance company paid the entire amount, minus a deductible, to the credit union, Archer said in court records.

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Ex-SW Va. bank teller gets four years in fraud

A former bank teller in Southwest Virginia was sentenced to four years in prison for bank fraud, embezzlement, credit-card fraud and identity theft.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Amber Renee Franks, 33, of Coeburn was sentenced Friday in federal court in Big Stone Gap. She also was ordered to pay more than $35,000 in restitution to her victims. A jury convicted her on 13 counts in May. According to evidence, Franks fraudulently used two credit cards in the names of her adopted father and deceased mother.
The part-time teller at the Coeburn BB&T Bank branch also forged balance transfer checks using her deceased mother's name and drafted fraudulent documents to withdraw nearly $32,000 from the account of an elderly customer and his deceased wife.

Prison sentence for Ala. woman convicted of embezzlement tailored to her new pregnancy

A federal judge has tailored a sentence for a woman convicted of embezzling who is newly pregnant and wants to avoid having her baby in jail.

The Mobile Press-Register reports ( ) that Danielle Krystan Winkler was sentenced to four months in federal prison but was ordered to begin serving immediately so she'll be out by the time she gives birth.

Winkler will be on five years' supervised release.

The 29-yearold pleaded guilty to bank fraud in April, admitting to stealing $135,000 through 164 withdrawals from customer accounts at America's First Federal Credit Union in Mobile. She also has to pay $5,000 to the credit union and $126,259 to the bank's insurance company.

Her attorney, Art Powell, said Winkler didn't spend the money "to enjoy some extravagant lifestyle." He said she also has a 14-month-old son.

Suburban bank official arrested in Dominican Republic with stolen $40K in Illinois

A 25-year-old assistant bank manager from Palos Hills was arrested in the Dominican Republic Saturday with nearly $40,000 in cash stolen from a bank vault earlier in the day, FBI officials said today.

Blazej M. Wasilewski, of the 10300 block of South Alta Drive in the southwest suburb, was charged in U.S. District Court with bank embezzlement, a felony, according to a press release issued by FBI officials.

Wasilewski is currently in the Dominican Republic awaiting extradition, officials said.

Wasilewski, an assistant manager from the south suburban Glenwood Chase bank branch, 18701 S. Halsted St., was able to manually turn off the bank 's electrical power on Friday evening as the bank was closing for the day, according to the criminal complaint filed Monday.

Early Saturday morning, Wasilewski allegedly returned to the bank and was able to use his keys and alarm codes to enter the bank, deactivate the alarm and open the vault, officials said.

The money was discovered missing when bank employees conducted an audit of the bank on Saturday morning after employees noticed that one teller cash dispenser was missing and a second dispenser been forced open and emptied of money, officials said.

The audit found that $39,765 was missing and Wasilewski was the suspected thief after his bank issued entry key was found sitting on a counter inside the bank and the bank's security system indicated that his code had been used to enter the bank and the vault, officials said.

Wasilewski could not be found when the bank manager tried to reach him Saturday morning, officials said.

FBI officials were able to track Wasilewski to O'Hare International Airport, where records indicated that he had boarded a flight Saturday morning from Chicago to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, officials said.

He was arrested Saturday evening by officers of the Dominican National Police as he tried to enter that country with $39,765 he did not declare to Dominican customs officials, according to the complaint.

Once he is extradited, he is expected to appear in U.S. District Court where he will be formally charged. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted, officials said.

Former banker pleads guilty to embezzlement in Louisiana

A former president of Farmer's State Bank has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $100,000 in bank funds from July 1998 through January 2004.

The Advocate reports ( ) Steve J. Broussard entered a guilty plea in federal court Monday to one count of misapplication by a bank employee and officer, which carries a possible prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Broussard had resigned from the Church Point bank about four years before he was indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2008 on 14 counts of misapplication by a bank employee and officer in excess of $1,000 and eight counts for less than $1,000.

According to the factual basis for his guilty plea, Broussard admitted to embezzling and willfully misapplying $119,981 in funds, credits and money, of which $104,349 is owed in restitution to the bank.

Among the ways the money was spent:

— Broussard hired three men as contract laborers for the bank and then directed them to spend about 30 percent of their time working on his personal property, although they were being paid by the bank, the filing says.

From 1998 through 2004, Elroy Meche, Felton James Bellard and Joseph Charlot were paid $231,750, of which $69,254 went toward work performed on Broussard's property, the filing says.

—Between June 2002 and September 2004, Broussard fraudulently received $38,930 in cash advances from ATMs using his bank-issued credit card and a bank-issued card linked to an ATM testing account at the bank, the filing says.

Of that, $24,705 has not been repaid to the bank, the filing says.

—From September 1998 through December 2003, Broussard had the bank purchase $13,149 in cooking supplies for the Circle S Cooking Team, one of his private activities.

Only about 50 percent of the team's activities served a legitimate bank purpose, the filing says.

—Between November 2002 and December 2002, Broussard directed the bank to give out a loan to newly elected Church Point City Councilman Melckisadech Green in order to gain influence on the city council, the filing says.

Green did not qualify for the loan, which ultimately cost the bank $1,294 when Green defaulted and failed to repay it, the filing says.

—Between January 1999 and July 2004, Broussard charged $1,715 to his bank-issued credit card for unauthorized personal items at Wal-Mart, the filing says.

Broussard will be sentenced at a later date.

Former Bank President Pleads Guilty to Embezzling Millions of Dollars in Kentucky

The former president and chief executive officer of a Falmouth, Ky. bank admitted that she embezzled more than two million dollars from the bank, according to a plea agreement filed today.

Donna J. Wood, 50, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to an embezzlement charge and admitted that from March of 2003 until January 26 of this year she embezzled $2,244,506.44 from United Kentucky Bank.

Wood also signed an agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation which stipulates that she will never work in banking again.

According to the plea agreement, Wood transferred money belonging to the bank into accounts owned by her husband and her two sons. Wood then falsified bank records to conceal her criminal conduct from auditors.

Wood worked as the bank president for two years. Prior to that, she had worked as the bank’s vice president since the bank opened in 1992.

Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Elizabeth A. Fries, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Louisville Field Division, jointly made the announcement today.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI. The United States was represented in the case by Assistant United States Attorney Laura K. Voorhees.

Wood faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Any sentence will be imposed by the court after consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of sentences.

Lowville woman charged in $10,000 embezzlement in New York

Lowville woman accused of embezzling $10,000

State police allege that a bank teller embezzled $10,000 on a single day.

Elsa L. Bush, 33, of 7564 Church St., Lowville, was arrested Thursday on a charge of third-degree grand larceny. She was arraigned in town of Pamelia Court and was released without bail to await grand jury action.

An investigator alleges that Ms. Bush stole the money July 26 while working as a teller at Community Bank, Route 3, Black River. No other details were available Thursday.

A former La Coste National Bank vice president was sentenced to five years' probation in Texas

A former La Coste National Bank vice president was sentenced to five years' probation for embezzling $30,000 from the now-defunct financial institution.

Mary Magdalene Crawford, of Atascosa, also must pay $40,000 in restitution; she's already repaid about $37,000 — some of which came from a retirement account that she had at the bank.

The embezzlement was uncovered in February 2010 after the bank was shut down by regulators because of an unrelated scheme.

Before sentencing Crawford, Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery asked her why she was in his courtroom.

“I just made a mistake,” Crawford softly answered.

“No ma'am,” Biery said. “You're a crook. You're a thief.”

Crawford later said she was sorry “that it happened.”

According to Crawford's plea agreement filed last fall, she stated she fraudulently prepared 10 cashier's checks worth $3,000 each. She then cashed the checks in late 2009 and used most of the money to pay bills.

In addition, the plea agreement stated that she stole $10,000 from the bank's vault. That charge was dropped as part of the plea, though the money was included in the amount that must be repaid.

La Coste National Bank was shut down by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver.

The bank's failure was blamed on the “the write-off of $7.3 million in fictitious investment securities alleged created by” then-President Jody P. Gwyn “to conceal his approval of payments made from bank funds on loans and significant overdrafts for a bank customer,” according to an audit report by the Treasury Department's Office of Inspector General.

The loans were well in excess of the bank's lending limits. The customer never has been publicly identified.

Gwyn was sentenced in April to five years in federal prison. He also must make $8.3 million in restitution for the losses sustained by the bank.

Crawford has been credited with already serving a year of probation. The probation could be terminated in two years if she gets in no further trouble and she pays back the remaining restitution.

La Coste's assets were acquired last year by Community National Bank of Hondo.

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Police have filed charges against a Sovereign Bank employee alleging that he embezzled $2,300 in Massachusetts

Police have filed charges against a Sovereign Bank employee alleging that he embezzled $2,300 from a deceased customer through fraudulent transactions.
Giovanni Pena, 20, of 24 Henry St., Southbridge, has been charged with four counts of misconduct by a bank officer/employee and four counts of embezzlement from a bank.
Pena will be issued a summons to appear in Brockton District Court for arraignment at a later date.
Whitman Police Chief Christine May-Stafford said that over a four-month period Pena is accused of withdrawing $2,300 in four separate transactions from an elderly person’s savings account, “but in fact the person was actually deceased.”
The chief said the transactions were made as “over-the-counter withdrawals.”
Police do not know if Pena transferred the money into a separate bank account or withdrew cash.
The family of the deceased person contacted the bank about the suspicious transactions on July 28.
Sovereign Bank loss prevention then contacted Whitman police to look into the matter.
Whitman Detective Stephen Drass conducted the investigation which led to the felony charges.
Pena is no longer employed by Sovereign Bank, the chief added

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Brisa Ramos, 30, of Newburg, Maryland, was arraigned on a 41count indictment charging her with embezzlement and aggravated identity theft this morning in federal court in Las Cruces. Ramos entered a not guilty plea during this morning’s proceedings, and was released on a $10,000 bond and other conditions pending trial.

The indictment, which was filed on August 17, 2011, charges Ramos with 40 counts of embezzlement and one count of aggravated identity theft. It also seeks an order requiring that Ramos forfeit any property obtained as a result of her alleged criminal conduct and a money judgment in the amount of $493,686, the amount of money involved in her alleged criminal conduct. The maximum penalty for a conviction on each of the 40 embezzlement counts is thirty years imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine. The maximum penalty for a conviction on the aggravated identity theft charge is two years imprisonment to be served consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed.

United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Ramos was employed at the First National Bank of Alamogordo in Alamogordo, New Mexico (FNB) and held the position of Account Services Supervisor at the time of the offenses charged in the indictment. According to the indictment, Ramos was employed at FNB from 1999 through September 2008, when she resigned her employment. The indictment alleges that, from October 2003 through December 2008, Ramos embezzled several hundred thousand dollars from customer accounts through the following types of transactions: (1) withdrawing cash from customer accounts; (2) causing cashier’s checks to be issued to third parties from those accounts; and (3) transferring funds from other customer accounts to the customer accounts from which she embezzled.

The case was investigated by the Roswell Resident Agency Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant United States Attorney Richard C. Williams.

Former bank teller charged in Staunton, Virginia

A former teller at SunTrust bank was arrested by police Monday and charged with stealing $4,806, according to the Staunton Police Department.

Catherine McEwing, 25, faces a felony charge of embezzlement.

Police said the alleged theft of the cash took place between June 14 and July 15 at the SunTrust bank located on Statler Boulevard inside the Kroger supermarket. The arrest followed a “surprise audit,” said Staunton police spokeswoman Lisa Klein.

McEwing is free on bond.

Ex-bank official faces embezzlement count in Massachusetts

The former manager of the North Easton Savings Bank on Copeland Drive has been charged in federal court with embezzling more than $175,000 in funds through unauthorized withdrawals from customers' accounts, including one who died a week before she allegedly stole funds from his certificate of deposit account.

Kathleen Didonato, also known as Kathleen O'Connell, of 10 Garfield St., in Foxboro, faces charges of theft by a bank employee, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in U.S. District Court in Boston.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled Aug. 29.

Didonato was an assistant bank manager when she allegedly began withdrawing funds in October 2010 and continued the scheme until January of this year. She was employed by the bank from 2007 until February of this year.

Bank auditors identified 126 fraudulent transactions linked to Didonato, including 32 transactions totaling nearly $70,000 involving withdrawals of cash or bank checks from one couple with an account at the bank, according to an affidavit of an FBI agent filed to support the charges. Didonato used $10,000 she allegedly withdrew from a customer's CD account to pay down a car loan for her 2007 Ford Fusion and another $10,000 from another customer's CD account to buy a 2004 Cadillac CTS luxury sports sedan, according to court records.

In another instance, she allegedly took $12,530 in cash from a customer for a bank check to pay the Emmanuel College tuition of a customer's daughter. But instead of depositing the cash she allegedly stole it and then balanced her ledger by electronically withdrawing funds from another customer's account, according to court records.

When one of the customer's questioned Didonato about missing funds from his account, she allegedly "manipulated the bank's ledger" to cover up a fraudulent withdrawal and gave the customer a print out "to lull him into believing his account was safe," according to court records.

The bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and bank president and chief executive officer Tom Deubler said Friday that all the customer accounts are "100 percent" accurate, including those allegedly manipulated by Didonato to perpetuate her crimes.

"Since 1864, no customer has ever lost a penny," Deubler said.

Didonato is free on a $10,000 bond and did not immediately return a telephone call Friday by The Sun Chronicle seeking comment. Her lawyer, a federal public defender, was not available. During the investigation, Didonato allegedly told FBI agents that she was "let go" from North Easton Savings Bank for "sloppiness" in performing her job. She allegedly told the agents she kept all of her passwords at her work station under her mouse pad, according to court records.

Didonato also allegedly stole the agents she bought her Cadillac from a customer at the bank and paid for it by trading in her Ford. When confronted about the alleged misapplication and embezzlement of account holder funds at the bank, Didonato declined to answer more questions without a lawyer present, according to court records.

The complaint was filed by the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston July 25.

According to court records, both sides are in plea negotiations to resolve the case.

Bank employees facing charges in New Jersey

Two bank employees were arrested last week for allegedly embezzling money from the Saddle River Road branch of TD Bank over the course of several months.

On Aug. 29 at 3:14 p.m., Officer Joseph Mecionis responded to the TD Bank on Saddle River Road for a report of embezzlement. After arriving at the bank, the officer met with corporate security representatives who stated they had two employees in custody for stealing money and falsifying bank records to cover up the theft.
Ian Williams, 23, of Englewood allegedly began taking money from his drawer "on and off for several months," police said. Later, Williams enlisted the aid of his co-worker – Gisselle Delacruz, 24, of Prospect Park – to help him cover up the thefts, police said. The duo allegedly falsified records to cover up the cash shortages in their drawers, police said.
Authorities allege that Williams stole $6,100 and Delacruz stole $4,100.
The pair was arrested on Aug. 29 and charged with theft and conspiracy. They were later released on their own recognizance and are scheduled to appear in Fair Lawn Municipal Court on Sept. 14.

Former Orlando Fifth Third executive pleads guilty to tax charge stemming from embezzlement

A former assistant vice president at Fifth Third Bank in Orlando today pleaded guilty to a tax charge stemming from an embezzlment scheme at the bank, prosecutors said.

Nikki Christine Highfield, 39, of Maineville, Ohio, agreed to plead guilty to filing a false tax-related document. Prosecutors say she falsified income-tax forms by failing to declare the embezzled funds as income.

The government was cheated out of more than $24,000 in 2005 and nearly $22,000 in 2006 as a result, court documents show. Highfield's husband, whose name was on the jointly filed returns, was unaware of the scheme, the government said.

Highfield was assistant vice president and regional risk and administration manager at Fifth Third Bank from 2005 to 2008. She oversaw cashiers' checks the bank issued and reconciliation of the bank's account, court papers show.

Prosecutors say she made out cashiers' checks worth nearly $275,000 to herself and her creditors and covered them with other checks from the bank's account.

The crime is punishable by up to three years in prison, one year of probation and a fine. However, the government agreed to recommend that Highfield receive a lighter sentence.

As part of the plea agreement, reached in July, Highfield agreed not to work for a bank or credit union.

Former Citigroup Insider Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud

Gary Foster, a former vice president in Citigroup Inc.'s treasury finance department, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to bank fraud related to his embezzlement of more than $22 million from Citigroup and its customers.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's charges against Foster stemmed from fraud he committed against Citi between September 2003 and June 2011.

On June 26, Foster, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at John F. Kennedy International Airport, just as he returned from a trip to Bangkok.

"The defendant violated his employer's trust and stole a stunning amount of money over an extended period of time to finance his personal lifestyle," says Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney for Eastern New York in a statement. "We will vigorously investigate and prosecute such conduct and seek to recover as much of the proceeds as possible."

Shannon Bell, a spokeswoman for Citi, says simply, "We are pleased that Mr. Foster will be held accountable for his crimes."

The Foster case highlights exactly why many institutions face challenges when it comes to detecting internal fraud. "A bank the size of Citi will have significant technological resources deployed against detecting online fraud, but the patterns of internal fraud can often mimic the patterns of everyday activity. This underscores the need for a layered approach to detecting internal fraud, combining internal audit, behavior analytics and periodic background checks. While living a lavish lifestyle isn't a crime, this individual's lifestyle wasn't commensurate with his position, and could've been an early red flag, if anyone had been looking."

Foster was charged with transferring money from various Citi accounts to a Citi cash account. From there, he wired the money to a personal bank account at another bank. He concealed the thefts by making various false accounting entries, making it appear as if the cash account was in balance. He also placed a fake contract or deal number in the reference line of the wire transfer instructions, giving the appearance that the wire transfers were actually in support of an existing Citi contract.

Foster used the money to buy real estate and luxury automobiles, including a Ferrari and a Maserati. In total, the value of the seized and restrained property is estimated to be approximately $16 million. Foster will forfeit the property pursuant to his plea agreement, and now faces a maximum sentence of 30 years' imprisonment.

"Like most employee fraud, using basic monitoring software could have identified the transaction anomalies well before the fraud reached this magnitude. Foster was wiring funds to a personal bank account at another bank, a situation that could have been easily identified if it was being monitored. This particular fraud went on for almost eight years before it was finally identified. How much of this type of fraud is currently happening under the noses of other financial institutions? The answer is, a lot, several billion dollars worth."

A former Dime Bank executive was sentenced in Connecticutt to 51 months in prison

A former Dime Bank executive was sentenced Wednesday to 51 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling more than $1 million.

Philip Mongillo , 51, of Westbrook, pleaded guilty in June to one count of bank theft.

Mongillo, who served as the bank's assistant vice president and technology officer, was responsible for overseeing the bank's hardware and software systems, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mongillo admitted he created a fake company to issue false invoices to the bank in September 2001, according to court documents. The invoices purported to charge the bank for technology support services that Mongillo knew had not been rendered.

He also set up a post office box and a business checking account in the fictitious company's name and caused the bank to issue payments to the fictitious company, department officials said.

Mongillo then deposited the payments in the business checking account he had established. From September 2001 through November 2010, Mongillo stole approximately $1,029,050 from his employer, officials said.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on Wednesday ordered Mongillo to pay restitution to the bank. Mongillo has agreed to a permanent bar from employment with any institution insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Read more: Former Dime Bank executive gets 51 months in embezzlement case - Norwich, CT - The Bulletin

Laurel bank employee charged with embezzlement in Mississippi

An employee of a bank in Laurel has been indicted for embezzlement for allegedly taking $86,000 from the vault over a period of about a decade.

A federal indictment says Stacy Ishee was an employee of the Laurel branch of Citizens National Bank of Meridian. The indictment said she took cash from the bank's vault and created false documents to hide the theft.

A call to her home Monday was not immediately returned.

Former bank teller embezzled in Idaho

A former teller at Wells Fargo Bank in Hailey has been charged with a felony for allegedly stealing from the bank.

An initial court appearance on a charge of grand theft by embezzlement is scheduled for Monday in Blaine County Magistrate Court for Erika M. Ruiz, a 21-year-old Hailey woman. Ruiz is also charged in a separate case with another felony for allegedly illegally using a co-worker's debit-card number.

Ruiz is represented by Ketchum attorney Andrew Parnes in both cases.

She was also the alleged victim in a Hailey stabbing case dismissed earlier this month in Blaine County 5th District Court.

In the embezzlement case, an arrest warrant was issued for Ruiz on Aug. 31 based upon a probable-cause affidavit filed by Hailey police Lt. Steve England. According to court records, Ruiz voluntarily surrendered to police on Aug. 31 after learning of the arrest warrant. She was released from custody that same day after posting $10,000 bond.

England wrote in his report that Ruiz became employed as a teller at Wells Fargo on March 30. Her employment was terminated on June 15 following a bank investigation. The case was turned over to the Hailey Police Department in July.

Guilty plea in $4.4 million embezzlement in Missouri

A former worker at the Jersey State Bank in Jerseyville faces up to 30 years in federal prison and $1 million in fines now that she has admitted embezzling $4.4 million. Mary Becker, 56, of Jerseyville, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to a charge of bank fraud. Authorities say Becker worked at the bank since 1976, holding positions ranging from assistant cashier to executive vice president. The indictment alleged that Becker inflated expenses and electronically transferred money from the bank's accounts to her own. Federal prosecutors are trying to seize Becker's home, two condos near Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks, a 38-foot powerboat and various other investments. The bank's president says Becker resigned in February and no customer accounts were affected.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Former Citizens Bank loan officer sentenced to 33 months for embezzlement in Nevada


A former commercial loan officer with Citizens Bank was sentenced in federal court to nearly three years in prison after pleading guilty to embezzlement and other charges.

Melvin Rohs, 65, of Nevada City, had pleaded guilty to three counts of theft, embezzlement or misapplication of bank officer or employee and two counts of making a false statement in connection with a loan application or renewal. According to court documents, the loss associated with his criminal conduct totals more than $2 million.
Rohs was sentenced Tuesday to 33 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. He also was ordered to pay $533,976 in restitution.
Rohs was a senior loan officer and assistant vice president at Citizens Bank until he was terminated in May 2009. The bank is based in Nevada City, with offices throughout Nevada County and in Auburn.
In December 2008, February 2009, and March 2009, Rohs initiated three unauthorized fund transfers from the account of one customer — UDC Sierra Cove — to the account of a second customer — Gordon Hellwig, doing business as California Land Title Co. — totaling $472,110.
On the last occasion, Rohs transferred money the day after Hellwig's credit line became overdrawn, falsely noting on the request that UDC Sierra Cove was buying land from Hellwig.
There did not appear to be anything other than a customer-client relationship between Rohs and Hellwig. Hellwig told an IRS investigator he was unaware of the transactions, adding he contacted Rohs on several occasions because his bank balances were not accurate.
Citizens Bank was unable to recover the transferred funds from California Land Title and was forced to swallow the losses.
Rohs also falsified Hellwig's loan documents in September 2008 and April 2009 by making false statements concerning his credit worthiness and by making an unauthorized increase to the loan approved by the bank.

ATM repairman accused of loading fake money in California

An employee of an ATM servicing company has been charged with swapping $200,000 in fake bills for real cash at machines in Daly City and San Francisco, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Samuel Kioskli, 64, of San Francisco was wanted on a warrant when he was arrested during a routine traffic stop in Phoenix on May 11, 10 months after the thefts, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Kioskli was an employee of Diebold, which services ATMs for Bank of America. On July 4, Kioskli went to six bank branches in San Francisco and one in Daly City and stole about $200,000 by replacing cash in the machine trays with counterfeit or photocopied $20 bills, Wagstaffe said.
Kioskli used his work card key to access the ATMs and was captured on video at all seven locations, authorities said.
The next day, Kioskli "abandoned his wife and disappeared," Wagstaffe said. His wife reported him missing, and angry Bank of America customers contacted the bank to complain about the fake money, authorities said.
Kioskli pleaded not guilty in San Mateo County Superior Court to charges of burglary, embezzlement, forgery and possession of counterfeiting apparatus. He is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
He faces similar charges in San Francisco.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Las Vegas couple accused of embezzling $1.2 million pleads guilty from credit union

A Las Vegas couple pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of embezzling $1.2 million from a California credit union and filing a false income tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Mireya Guadalupe Gonzalez, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling funds from Sharebuilders Federal Credit Union, a federally insured credit union in Northridge, Calif. In addition, Mireya and her husband, Jorge Luis Gonzalez, 35, each pleaded guilty to one count of subscribing to false income tax returns.
A joint investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation unit in Los Angeles and the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that between January 2005 and March 2007, Mireya worked as the manager of Sharebuilders FCU, and had access to computerized records and the ability to authorize transfers between accounts, according to her plea agreement.
Mireya Gonzalez allegedly identified several accounts that were inactive or had minimal funds on deposit and electronically transferred funds to a joint checking account with her husband and two accounts that were in her children’s names, according to IRS investigators. She also deposited funds from the general ledger accounts of Sharebuilders FCU to the family accounts, investigators said.
The embezzled money was used to buy personal items such as jewelry, automobiles and luxury items, officials said.
The withdrawals from the dormant accounts created large negative balances. Mireya Gonzalez allegedly covered up the fraudulent deposits to the Gonzalez accounts by changing names and numbers assigned to the dormant accounts, transferring balances to the dormant accounts from other accounts and providing false information to auditors hired by Sharebuilders FCU.
The National Credit Union Administration Board seized Sharebuilders FCU in April 2007 due to insolvency.
Mireya and Jorge Gonzalez failed to report the embezzled income on their joint tax returns, officials said. According to Mireya Gonzalez’s plea agreement, she and her husband didn’t report $676,000 in income for 2005, $338,000 for 2006 and $150,000 for 2007.
Mireya Gonzalez faces a possible maximum sentence of 33 years in federal prison and fines up to $1.1 million. In addition, she will be required to pay full restitution to Sharebuilders FCU and the IRS. The amount will be determined before sentencing.
Jorge Gonzalez faces a possible maximum sentence of three years in federal prison and fines up to $100,000. Both are to be sentenced Sept. 26 by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Credit Union Head Teller Charged with Embezzling Funds, Falsifying Records in Pennsylvania

A resident of Coraopolis, Penn., has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of bank embezzlement and false entry in financial institution records, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The 16‑count indictment named Shirley A. Howl, 55, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment, Howl was the head teller for the West‑Aircomm Federal Credit Union (FCU). Howl is charged with embezzling approximately $400,000 from West‑Aircomm FCU from Aug. 7, 2007 through Nov. 9, 2009. Howl is also charged with multiple counts of falsifying records at the FCU to conceal the defalcations.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 480 years in prison, a fine of $16,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense(s) and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Paul E. Hull is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

An indictment or information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Embezzling CEO Sentenced in Ohio

Bernie Metz, 57, former CEO of Center Valley Federal Credit Union, will have to repay NCUA over $4.65 million and pay $200,000 to a local organization in Ohio as part of her sentence for embezzlement.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced that Metz received 108 months imprisonment in addition to the financial parts of the sentence. She also had to surrender properties she purchased during her decade-long embezzlement, along with several vehicles and over $14,000.

As a result of the embezzlement, NCUA closed and liquidated the CU in 2009.

"The prison sentence imposed today upon Bernie Metz brings an end to her sophisticated scheme to defraud the Center Valley Federal Credit Union and its members," said Ihlenfeld. "She embezzled millions of dollars over the past ten years and used the credit union as her own personal piggy bank. Due to the convictions obtained in this matter, her opulent lifestyle has ended. Things will be much different for Bernie Metz behind bars, and she will no longer enjoy the life of luxury to which she had become accustomed."

Affidavits filed in the case showed that Metz used embezzled funds to start a business that included both a restaurant and motel run by her and her husband.

Ihnlenfeld also indicated that the crime has continued to reverberate in the lives of the former CU's members.

"While a number of former credit union members chose to meet with me and my staff in person to discuss their issues, I know that there are many more similarly situated people who still are having problems with their credit union accounts, whether they are upside-down on their automobile loans or they feel they are being unfairly harassed by collection calls," said Ihlenfeld. "My message to those people is to make sure that they fully explore all of their rights under state and federal law, and to make sure that their legal rights are not being violated in any way."

Former Credit Union CEO Sentenced to Nine Years’ Imprisonment in West Virginia

United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced that BERNIE D. METZ, who served as the chief executive officer and manager of the Center Valley Federal Credit Union, was sentenced today to 108 months’ imprisonment to be followed by five years’ supervised release by Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr. in United States District Court in Wheeling. The court also ordered METZ to pay restitution in the amount of $4,657,869.00 to the National Credit Union Administration and $200,000.00 to The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge 2029 from North Canton, Ohio.

U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld also stated that as part of the sentence handed down by the court, METZ must forfeit all remaining property seized from her at the time of her arrest and acquired by her during the time of her scheme, including: the Roadworthy Tavern and Resort in West Liberty; $14,036.75 in funds seized from bank accounts; and several vehicles.

“The prison sentence imposed today upon Bernie Metz brings an end to her sophisticated scheme to defraud the Center Valley Federal Credit Union and its members,” said USA Ihlenfeld. “She embezzled millions of dollars over the past 10 years and used the credit union as her own personal piggy bank. Due to the convictions obtained in this matter, her opulent lifestyle has ended. Things will be much different for Bernie Metz behind bars, and she will no longer enjoy the life of luxury to which she had become accustomed.”

METZ, age 57, previously entered guilty pleas on January 4, 2010, to two counts of an information charging her with embezzlement and money laundering. At the time Metz pled guilty, the government presented evidence that an audit conducted by the National Credit Union Administration revealed that millions of dollars in funds were missing from the credit union in January of 2009. As a result of the discrepancy, the credit union was liquidated in February of 2009, and a criminal investigation was commenced into METZ’s activities by the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

At the time she entered her guilty plea last January, the government presented evidence detailing the various methods used by METZ over the years to embezzle funds from the credit union and appropriate them to her own use. United States Attorney Ihlenfeld urged the court today to consider the scope of the crime and its devastating impact upon the credit union members and their families as well as upon the community at large. Ihlenfeld told the court that his office has personally met with credit union members who believe they were victimized by the defendant’s crimes, or have unresolved issues and financial losses with respect to their credit union accounts.

“While a number of former credit union members chose to meet with me and my staff in person to discuss their issues, I know that there are many more similarly situated people who still are having problems with their credit union accounts, whether they are upside down on their automobile loans or they feel they are being unfairly harassed by collection calls,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld. “My message to those people is to make sure that they fully explore all of their rights under state and federal law, and to make sure that their legal rights are not being violated in any way.”

METZ is free on bond pending placement at a Bureau of Prisons facility.

Along with Ihlenfeld, the case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert H. McWilliams, Jr. and Michael D. Stein. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Marshals Service.

Former bank employee pleads guilty to embezzlement in Texas

A former Lubbock bank employee pleaded guilty this week to embezzling nearly $800,000 from a customer’s line of credit over several years.

Mary Frances Dunn faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

According to court documents, Dunn began embezzling money while employed as a loan assistant to a vice president at Plains Capital Bank.

Beginning in 2003, Dunn fraudulently appropriated approximately $630,000 from a Plains Capital Bank customer, according to court documents.

When Dunn began working for City Bank in March 2008, the customer from whose line of credit Dunn embezzled moved the account with Dunn, after which she embezzled an additional $157,000.

A federal grand jury indicted Dunn in November of last year.

A sentencing date had not been set Wednesday.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bank orders internal review in Illinois

A Jersey State Bank officer said Monday that the bank has placed an employee on administrative leave and has ordered an internal review.

"In response to the findings of our regular audit procedures, Jersey State Bank officials have begun an internal review and put an employee on administrative leave," Jersey State Bank President Larry Anderson said in a media statement sent Monday to the Telegraph. "Because this review is ongoing, we cannot provide additional details at this time."

The media statement was in response to a Telegraph call to Anderson regarding reports that the Jersey State Bank had an employee escorted from the facility last Thursday by federal agents for alleged embezzlement. People calling The Telegraph gave the name of the employee allegedly involved, but because no charges have been filed, the newspaper will not release it.

Anderson returned The Telegraph’s phone message late Monday and said the media statement he was preparing would have to suffice for now, and that he could not comment further.

"We do want to reassure Jersey State Bank customers that no individual or business accounts have been compromised, and our capitalization is secure," he said. "We are taking this issue extremely seriously and will be cooperating fully with all authorities in this review."

As of Monday morning, Jersey County State’s Attorney Ben Goetten said while he had heard the same rumors over the weekend, he had not been notified officially by the bank or the U.S. Attorney’s Office in East St. Louis about any local investigation.

Catherine Rodick, press spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois in East St. Louis, said when contacted Monday that she would relay The Telegraph’s questions to the appropriate officer. As of Monday night, no return call had been received.

$3.7M Embezzled By Former Bank Officer, City Councilman in Nevada

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Stephen Marich, 43, of Ely, Nev. pleaded guilty Monday before United States District Judge Kent J. Dawson in federal court in Las Vegas to embezzling at least $3.7 million from the First National Bank of Ely over about 10 years.

Upon discovering Marich’s activity, the Bank of Ely promptly reported it to law enforcement and followed up with a thorough internal investigation.

The case was extensively investigated by the FBI. They have determined that Marich acted alone. This case is being prosecuted by Eastern District of California Assistant United States Attorney. According to the plea agreement, from the mid-1990s until about December 7, 2009, Marich was an employee of the First National Bank of Ely, most recently as a vice president. Marich admitted using his control over a treasury bill account to steal at least $3.7. He used the funds for his personal benefit and also to make transfers to offshore online gambling enterprises. According to public accounts, Marich was an Ely city councilman until he resigned during this investigation.

Marich is scheduled to be sentenced on May 11, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. The maximum statutory penalty for a embezzlement of more than $1 million by a bank employee is 30 years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Texas Bank Officer Accused of Embezzling More Than $2.7 Million in Palmer

$2.7 million is a great deal of money, and it’s pretty hard to miss that much cash flowing out of your bank – bad news for one (now) former Texas bank officer.

An indictment was placed against a former Bank of New York Mellon officer being accused of embezzling funds last Friday, as confirmed by U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

Tracey Buckley, 44 of Palmer, Texas, was arrested by federal agents on embezzlement charges last Thursday, and subsequently pled not guilty. After this, she was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Between September 2008 and September 2010, Buckley allegedly started 40 wire transfers totaling more than $2.7 million from The Bank of NY Mellon to her own bank account at JPMorgan Chase.

If convicted, Buckley could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and be fined up to $1 million. She could also be forced to pay further restitution and forfeit the titles of her vehicles and real estate she owns in Palmer and Ennis, TX as well as Custer, Montana.

Bank Employee Charged in Pennsylvania with Embezzling More Than $450,000

A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a charge of embezzlement, United States Attorney David J Hickton announced today. The one-count indictment named Danielle M Keane, 37, as the sole defendant. According to the indictment presented to the court, from on or about April 30, 2007, to on or about August 1, 2010, Danielle M Keane, an employee for the Bank of New York Mellon, embezzled approximately $452,037.06. If convicted, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Assistant United States Attorney James T Kitchen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government. The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case. An indictment or information is an accusation.

A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Former Bank Of Asheville, North Carolina Head Indicted On Money Laundering Charges

Documents filed in the United States District Court in Asheville show George Gordon Greenwood, former president and CEO of the Bank of Asheville, is charged with money laundering and misapplication by a bank officer.

The indictment alleges Greenwood, while bank president, authorized and made a loan to a straw borrower. A straw borrower is defined as an individual named on the loan application who isn’t the intended recipient of the loan.

The indictment also states Greenwood, after approving the $500,000 loan, took proceeds from the loan and made a series of financial transactions for five different parties. The parties were not named in the indictment.

The indictment goes on to state Greenwood made these transactions to launder money obtained through “theft, embezzlement, or misapplication by bank officers or employee.”

If convicted, at least a portion of Greenwood’s property could be seized.

Hammond, Indiana woman pleads guilty to embezzling $50,000 from Whiting bank

A former vice president of Whiting's Liberty Savings Bank pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling more than $50,000 from the company over a two-year span.

Sherlynn M. Groat, 56, of Hammond, changed her plea Thursday morning in Hammond federal court and was released on a $20,000 unsecured bond that she will have to pay should she miss her next court date.

Groat was a veteran bank employee of more than 25 years before her criminal activity led to her dismissal in March, court records show. She now is working in a Strack & Van Til deli.

Between 2008 and 2010, Groat used her role as a Liberty Savings vice president to transfer the bank's money into her personal accounts, as well as steal money from customers' accounts. She now faces as many as 60 years in prison, 10 years supervised release and $2 million in fines.

"I took numerous steps to conceal my criminal conduct from the bank and the customers," Groat wrote in her November plea agreement.

During her embezzling spree, Groat increased the loan amounts of a bank customer without permission and placed the excess funds into her personal Liberty Savings accounts. In another case, Groat stole two checks intended as payment for a client's loan and cashed them for her personal use. She also opened a loan in the name of a customer without permission and withheld the person's year-end loan statement to hide the scheme.

Groat has repaid the tens of thousands of dollars she stole from the bank and its customers, including interest, court records show. And in exchange for her guilty plea and act of restitution, the prosecutors agreed to ask the court for the minimum sentence within the guideline range, which has yet to be calculated.

Joseph Shimala, president of Liberty Savings Bank, FSB, declined to talk about Groat or her case.

"I've been advised by legal counsel not to comment," Shimala said.

Groat's attorney, federal defender Ashwin Cattamanchi, also declined to comment. Groat is scheduled to be sentenced at 1 p.m. May 5 in Judge Rudy Lozano's courtroom.

Gambling at root of Grand Rapids, Michigan bank embezzlement

A Grand Rapids-area woman says gambling led her to embezzle about $600,000 from Huntington Bank.

Jo Anne Wierenga pleaded guilty Monday in federal court. She told a judge that gambling caused her to steal money for seven years at a Huntington branch in Grand Rapids.

Authorities say Wierenga took money from customer accounts and the vault. She remains free on bond but must stay away from casinos and attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings. Wierenga will receive her sentence on May 9.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Former bank employee accused in major embezzlement scheme in West Virginia

A former employee of the BB&T bank branch on Charleston's West Side has been indicted by a federal grand jury of embezzling a large amount of money from the financial facility.

Bonnie Jean Bain, 59, who worked as a teller supervisor, allegedly stole the money from at least May 2004 to October 2007, according to the indictment.

The grand jury charges that Bain, a Belle resident, intentionally made numerous false entries in the books and records designed to conceal cash shortages and prevent those shortages from being discovered.

The indictment says Bain falsified cash in and cash out tickets, falsified cash reconcilement reports and falsified teller drawer and vault daily cash balancing reports.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Robinson would not detail how much money Bain allegedly embezzled. But she pointed out that incorrect reports of cash made by Bain involve millions of dollars.

According to a long list of false entries included in the indictment, Bain made false cash balancing records concerning foreign currency, unfit and mutilated bills in teller drawers and the bank vault.

She also used false reports of pennies, $1 dollar bills and $2 dollar bills.

The indictment reads, "(Bonnie Bain) did knowingly make materially false entries.... in the books, reports and statements of BB&T, when in fact as defendant Bonnie Jean Bain well knew, these entries did not represent the actual currency as stated in the report."

The indictment lists 26 instances of reports made by Bain over a three-year period. Each involves between $1 million and $1.9 million in cash.

She is charged with 26 counts of embezzlement. If found guilty, Bain could be sentenced to 30 years and/or a $1 million fine for each count.

Bain was investigated by the United States Secret Service.

David White, BB&T Corp.'s vice president of corporate communications said, "Because this is now pending litigation, I cannot comment on it. I can confirm that she was a teller supervisor at BB&T."

Bain will be arraigned before a U.S. District Judge on Feb

Second former bank teller pleads guilty to embezzlement in Pennsylvania

A second former bank teller has agreed to plead guilty to charges she and a colleague embezzled more than $7,617 from the First Keystone Community Bank in Kingston, according to documents filed Friday in federal court.

Mary Ann Wright and her colleague, Jennifer Sgroi, repeatedly swiped cash from their teller drawers between 2009 and July 2010, federal prosecutors said. They swapped cash from each other's drawers to hide their thefts from monthly bank audits, federal prosecutors said.

Wright, 42, of Kingston, faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine and, under her plea agreement, could be ordered to pay back the full amount of the stolen funds. She has agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Sgroi agreed Tuesday to plead guilty to a theft conspiracy charge. She also faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Wright and Sgroi worked as tellers at the First Keystone Community Bank branch on Wyoming Avenue in Kingston, but are "no longer employed" with the company, Lee Hess, a bank vice president, said.

Wright's attorney, Matthew Thomas Comerford, did not return a telephone message Friday.

Louisiana Bank Employee Charged With Embezzling $280K From Elderly Customer Accounts

Brandy Rogers, 31, of New Iberia, Louisiana, has been arrested and charged with embezzling some $280,000 from elderly customer accounts at Teche Federal Bank where she had been employed as a customer service representative. Rogers allegedly siphoned monies from customer accounts over a period of several months. She has been charged with unauthorized use of an access card for theft, identity theft, theft of assets of an aged person, bank fraud, forgery, computer fraud and money laundering.

Woman charged with embezzlement from Michigan bank

A Muskegon woman faces up to five years in prison if convicted of charges of embezzling from the Spring Lake bank where she worked.

Samantha Leigh Green, 1203 Hampden Road, has been accused of moving more than $1,000 from Huntington Bank, 123 W. Savidge St., to her personal account at another bank, according to Detective Corey Allard of the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department.

Green, 25, is free on a $3,000 personal recognizance bond. She is scheduled to appear for arraignment in Ottawa County 20th Circuit Court on Feb. 14.

Green, who started working as a personal banker at Huntington Bank last fall, allegedly transferred the funds between Dec. 6, 2010, and Jan. 6, Allard said.

"She gave herself unauthorized refunds to her employee accounts," the detective said. "Then she would transfer them to her personal accounts at another financial institution."

Green was discovered when the bank ran a refund report and noticed the activity, Allard said. It was turned over to the bank investigator, who then contacted police.

Allard said Green admitted to the transfer of funds, but did not have a reason for taking the money.

"She never spent any of the money," Allard said.

Green has no prior criminal history, he added.

Fired Employee Suspected in Bank Theft in California

A fired Laguna Beach bank teller was arrested for grand theft and embezzlement after bank managers last Wednesday, Jan. 26, discovered $11,000 in $100 bills missing from the drawer of a terminated employee, police said.

Police served a search warrant the following day and took Justin Stokes, 21, of Newport Beach, into custody, arresting him for suspicion of grand theft and embezzlement, said Sgt. Louise Callus. Bail was set at $20,000.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Former Chase Bank Official in California Convicted of Taking Bribes and Disclosing Existence of a Suspicious Activity Report

A former official with Chase Bank has been found guilty of disclosing the existence of a suspicious activity report (SAR) filed with federal officials, and then soliciting thousands of dollars in bribes to help the borrower deal with a possible criminal investigation related to the illegally disclosed SAR.

Frank E. Mendoza, 45, of Victorville, was convicted yesterday afternoon of three counts of bank bribery and one count of unlawfully disclosing a SAR. The federal jury deliberated about 30 minutes before issuing its verdict, which included a not guilty finding on a charge of attempted economic extortion.

Following a one-week trial in United States District Court, the jury determined that Mendoza demanded a $25,000 bribe, ultimately accepted $10,000 in bribes from the customer, and disclosed the existence of a SAR. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau within the Treasury Department that receives SARs from financial institutions around the country, believes Mendoza is the first bank official in the nation to be convicted of criminal charges for revealing the filing of a SAR.

The evidence presented during the trial showed that Mendoza, who worked as a loss mitigation specialist for Chase Bank, conducted an investigation of a delinquent borrower on mortgage loans made in relation to seven properties in Palmdale. In the fall of 2008, Mendoza reported to Chase that he suspected fraud in relation to the mortgages, and the bank in late November 2008 filed a SAR with FinCEN.

Several months later, Mendoza approached the borrower and suggested that he pay $25,000 in exchange for Mendoza’s assistance with Chase and a possible federal criminal investigation related to the loans. In these conversations, Mendoza disclosed the filing of the SAR and asserted that a federal criminal investigation of the borrower was imminent.

Mendoza’s bribery solicitation in May 2009 caused the borrower to contact the FBI. After the borrower delayed paying any bribe money, Mendoza ultimately agreed to accept $10,000 in cash. During two meetings in the borrower’s car in the parking lot of the Mall of Victor Valley, the borrower made two $5,000 payments to Mendoza. Following the second payment on June 29, 2009, special agents with the FBI arrested Mendoza, recovered the second $5,000 payment, and recovered from Mendoza’s wallet two $100 bills that were part of the first bribe payment.

Steven Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles, said: “Dishonest practices by bank employees corrode our banking system and, as evidenced by Mr. Mendoza’s conviction, can have serious consequences.”

Mendoza is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Robert H. Whaley on May 25. As a result of yesterday’s guilty verdicts, Mendoza faces a statutory maximum penalty of 95 years in federal prison.

“Suspicious activity reports filed by financial institutions with FinCEN provide some of the most useful information available to government authorities in criminal, tax or regulatory investigations or proceedings,” according to FinCEN Director James H. Freis, Jr. “This flow of highly confidential information among financial professionals, FinCEN, and law enforcement depends on the training and trust placed on industry and government officials alike. This case demonstrates the severe consequences that come with betraying that trust, disregarding the Bank Secrecy Act, and ignoring one’s duty as an employee of a financial institution.”

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is a bureau within the Treasury Department charged with partnering with the financial industry, law enforcement and regulators to protect the U.S. financial system from criminal abuse. FinCEN administers the Bank Secrecy Act, which is the federal anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing statute. The Bank Secrecy Act and FinCEN regulations require certain financial institutions, including all banks, to have Anti-Money Laundering programs in place and to report suspicious transactions and large currency transactions. FinCEN receives approximately one million SARs every year.

The case against Mendoza was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received assistance from FinCEN.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NY pastor charged with embezzling $400K from bank; police say church funds not involved

Police say a pastor at an upstate New York church embezzled more than $400,000 from the credit union where he worked.

Jason LaPierre, pastor at River Church in Kingsbury is charged with writing himself hundreds of personal checks over four years while working at the Hudson River Community Credit Union in Corinth, 40 miles north of Albany.

LaPierre was a human resources and marketing executive at the bank. The thefts were discovered last year and he was fired in December.

Police believe at least $406,000 was taken.

LaPierre was arraigned Wednesday on charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records. Phones for LaPierre and the church were out of service Thursday.

A bank officer says the funds were insured against theft.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Former Bank Employee Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement in Wisconsin

A Custer woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling funds from a customers account while employed at a bank in Stevens Point.

At the plea hearing Wednesday, in U.S. District Court in Madison, Elizabeth Simonis admitted that in 2010 while employed at Bulls Eye Credit Union she embezzled $12,000 from a customer's account.

U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb scheduled sentencing for March 23, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. Simonis faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

The customer was fully reimbursed by Bulls Eye Credit Union.

Former Chase Bank Official Convicted of Bank Bribery

In Riverside, California, a former official with Chase Bank has been found guilty of disclosing the existence of a suspicious activity report (SAR) filed with federal officials, and then soliciting thousands of dollars in bribes to help the borrower deal with a possible criminal investigation related to the illegally disclosed SAR.

Frank E. Mendoza, of Victorville, was convicted of three counts of bank bribery and one count of unlawfully disclosing a SAR. The federal jury took only 30 minutes to deliver their verdict, which included a not guilty finding on a charge of attempted economic extortion. At trial in United States District Court, the jury determined that he demanded a $25,000 bribe, and accepted $10,000 in bribes from the customer, and disclosed the existence of a SAR. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau that receives SARs from financial institutions around the country, believes he is the first bank official in the nation to be convicted of criminal charges for revealing the filing of a SAR.

The evidence presented showed that Mendoza, who was employed as a loss mitigation specialist for Chase Bank, conducted an investigation of a delinquent borrower on mortgage loans made in relation to seven properties in Palmdale, California. He reported that he suspected fraud in relation to the mortgages, which led the bank to file a SAR with FinCEN. Months later, Mendoza suggested that the borrower pay $25,000 in exchange for his assistance with Chase and a possible federal criminal investigation. During this conservation, he disclosed the filing of the SAR and said that a federal criminal investigation of the borrower was imminent.

Mendoza’s bribery solicitation caused the borrower to contact the FBI. After the borrower delayed paying any bribe money, he agreed to accept $10,000 in cash. During two meetings in the borrower’s car, the borrower made two $5,000 payments to Mendoza. Following the second payment, special agents with the FBI arrested him, recovered the second cash payment, and recovered from his wallet two $100 bills that were part of the first bribe payment. Mendoza is scheduled to be sentenced by a United States District Judge as a result of the guilty verdicts. He faces a statutory maximum penalty of 95 years in federal prison.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is a bureau within the Treasury Department responsible to protect the United States financial system from criminal abuse. FinCEN administers the Bank Secrecy Act, which is the federal anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing statute. The Bank Secrecy Act and FinCEN regulations require all banks to have Anti-Money Laundering programs in place and to report suspicious transactions and large currency transactions. The case against Mendoza was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received assistance from FinCEN.

Federal law and California law both make bribery a criminal offense. The purpose of bribery statutes is to prevent people from seeking preferential treatment from public officials from using their office for personal gain. If a government official is offered or seeks anything of value for himself in exchange for performing an official act, a fraudulent action, or any action in violation of their official duty, the elements of bribery may be met.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Police: Woman embezzled $30,000 from Bartlesville, Oklahoma bank

A Bartlesville woman, an employee of a Bartlesville bank, is accused of embezzling nearly $30,000 from the accounts of four elderly bank customers.

Patricia L. Swearingin, 53, seen in Washington County District Court Thursday, faces charges of 10 counts of embezzlement by an employee and one count of financial exploitation of elderly persons.

During the hearing, the judge set her bond to $5,000 with a condition of no contact with Osage Federal Bank. She posted bond late that afternoon.

Osage Federal Bank Chief Executive Officer Mark White told BarlesvilleLIVE on Friday Swearingin's employment was terminated a month ago.

"She was finished as soon as we found out what we determined were some suspicious activities had been investigated," he said. "That was the end of the employment."

White said all customers were immediately reimbursed.

According to the affidavit, the investigation that led up to her began on Dec. 9 when a police investigator went to Osage Federal Bank located on the 3300 block of S.E. Frank Phillips Blvd to speak with the chief financial officer about a possible embezzlement case at the bank.

The officer told police that Swearingin, who had been employed with the bank more than 10 years, had embezzled between $50,000 and $100,000 from the bank.

He said he learned of the activity after receiving an e-mail from a bank customer's son reporting money missing from his mother's CD.

Learning that Swearingin had been the only individual in the bank to order checks for the account, he pulled video surveillance for the time when a check was cashed from the account and saw Swearingin write a check in her office and walk it to the drive-through window where it was then cashed. The officer told police no car was at the drive-though, nor did the customer visit the bank that day.

Further investigation by the bank officer revealed “many more such transactions of … elderly people with similar accounts” being done. He explained that in each case, the money taken was interest off of accounts from CDs.

The police investigator, returning to the bank on Dec. 27, was given a spreadsheet listing unauthorized withdrawals as confirmed by the owners of the accounts. A total of ten checks were cashed between August and November — the loss from the bank totaling $29,397.29, according to the police report.

The report said the average age of the alleged victims was 82.6 years-old.

Through a warrant served to search bank records for Swearingin's account at another bank, the investigator found that of the 13 deposits made from Aug. 20 to Nov. 24, eight deposits were made the same day money was taken from Osage Federal Bank. Between those dates, a total of $19,950 was deposited “on or within a couple days of the theft at Osage Bank,” said the affidavit.

Police next spoke to Swearingin who denied any wrongdoing. She reportedly said she won the money at a casino and said she had deposited the money into the above mentioned bank account “so she could claim a loss with the government for gambling by writing the casino a check at the casino.”

Asked if she was saying she was defrauding the government, she reportedly said “not to put it that way.”

Police further interviewed the drive-through window tellers who had cashed the checks for Swearingin. They all said Swearingin would ask them to cash the checks — that she would explain she had a customer waiting and the tellers in the lobby were busy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Strongsville , Ohio bank teller gives cash from drawer to husband

A bank teller was sentenced Tuesday for taking cash from her drawer and giving it to her husband.

Rebecca Warden, a former teller at the National City Bank branch in Strongsville, was
sentenced to 16 months in prison and ordered to pay $888,471 in restitution after previously pleading guilty to bank fraud, Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said.
Rebecca Warden, 34, of Parma, removed cash from her drawer and gave it
to her husband, Steve Warden, who would come into the bank and pretend to conduct legitimate banking transactions, Dettelbach said.
This took place from on or about 2006 through March 2010, according to
court documents.
During this time period, Rebecca Warden also removed cash to issue official bank checks
and money orders payable to businesses to which Steve Warden owed money.
Steve Warden, 35, of Brunswick, pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges last week
and is scheduled to be sentenced in April.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ex-bank employee scheduled to plead to embezzlement in Warren, Maine

The woman suspected of embezzling about $750,000 from various customers at Camden National Bank is scheduled to enter a guilty plea next week in federal court.

Christina L. Torres-York of Warren is scheduled to enter the pleas to embezzlement and misapplication of funds from Camden National Bank, according to a Jan. 5 letter sent from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Portland to one of the alleged victims. The victim, who asked that her/his identity not be disclosed, provided The Herald-Gazette with a copy of the letter.
A second alleged victim also confirmed receiving a letter from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"Our office wishes to inform you that based upon our investigation into this matter, it appears there may have been an unauthorized or improperly documented transaction or transactions involving your account(s) at Camden National Bank. This does not mean that your account(s) necessarily incurred any net reduction or loss," the letter stated.
"Nevertheless, we are providing this notice based upon information that your account(s) may have had unauthorized activity in them some time during a period spanning the spring of 2007 into the fall of 2009," the letter stated.
Jonathan Chapman with the U.S. Attorney's Office said that the office cannot comment on any case that has not been publicly filed. No criminal complaint had been filed in U.S. District Court in Portland as of Jan. 7.
Chapman said in other cases, complaints could be filed in advance of a hearing or on the day of the plea. He had no comment on the Torres-York matter.
Torres-York was employed by Camden National Bank for nearly 20 years until she was fired on Oct. 16, 2009, when the bank learned she had withdrawn $749,402 from at least five customers' lines of credit, according to a lawsuit filed by Camden National.
A judge agreed to place a $750,000 lien on Torres-York's property for Camden National's claims and an $82,940 lien on behalf of the Maine Contractors and Builders Alliance Inc. That organization, a statewide builders association, filed its own civil lawsuit against Torres-York.
Torres-York was hired by Camden National Bank in 1990. She worked as a loan officer at its Waldoboro bank. As a loan officer, Torres-York had access to individual bank customers' lines of credit. The bank policy, however, is that a withdrawal from lines of credit must be authorized by the customer.
On Oct. 16, 2009, it came to the bank's attention that Torres-York had been withdrawing funds from customers' lines of credit, according to the bank's lawsuit. She was immediately fired.
The lawsuit states that to date the bank has determined that Torres-York made unauthorized withdrawals from at least five bank customers' lines of credit. The amount totaled $749,402.
On Oct. 19, 2009, the bank discovered a letter from Torres-York that was left in a night depository box. In the letter, according to the lawsuit, she confessed that she "used several lines of credit" and that she was "terribly sorry for the embarrassment [she] caused for Camden National Bank and [her] family."
"I am relieved that this is finally over as I have struggled for a long time with this and it has caused me to not be able to concentrate on my work," her letter stated, according to the bank's lawsuit.
She disbursed the money to eight different accounts. One improper disbursement was for $355,000.
She described how she would like to make partial restitution and said that the ones who scream to get their fees back should get the money from her 401(k) retirement account.
"Again I am so sorry it became a mess," her letter stated, according to the lawsuit. "I will not be in at 8, as I can not hold up my head any longer, ashamed at what has happened and what I have done to so many people that trusted me."
The builders alliance filed a lawsuit Jan. 21, 2010, in Knox County Superior Court in Rockland against Torres-York, claiming she used her position as the organization's treasurer and as an employee of Camden National to siphon off $82,940.
"We struggled. We almost went out of business," the association's president Charlie Huntington said late last year of the impact that the loss of the money had on the alliance.
The alliance's president said the organization had built one home and was well into building another with the assumption that it had sufficient equity in the first structure to complete the second home. That is when the organization learned that Torres-York had taken money from the alliance.
Torres-York served as volunteer treasurer for the Maine Contractors and Builders Alliance for several years until she resigned from the post under threat of removal on Nov. 13, 2009, according to the alliance's lawsuit.
The alliance maintained a checking account at Camden National, a checking account at Bangor Savings Bank, and a line of credit at Bangor Savings. The lawsuit cited several instances of her withdrawing money from the Bangor Savings account held by the association made out to Camden National but the money was never deposited in the Camden National accounts.
The association's checks that Torres-York made out to Camden National were cashed by her at Camden National and she took the cash, the association's lawsuit states.
The association stated that when it heard about the large misappropriation of money from Camden National it checked with Torres-York and learned she was the subject of the investigation. The organization was soon contacted by law enforcement officials.
Torres-York was asked to resign from the association and she did.
Huntington said the bank's position is that Torres-York took the alliance's money through her role as the organization's treasurer and not her position as a bank employee. The alliance's president said, however, that she would not have been able to do what she did if not for her position with the bank.

Feds Investigate Alleged $1 Million Embezzlement by a Hawaii Bank of America Employee Who Has Vanished

Federal authorities are investigating a loan officer fired from the Bank of America’s Honolulu office last month for allegedly stealing at least $1 million of customer funds to repay personal gambling debts,
Michael Ho Kim was discharged from the bank shortly before Christmas and his whereabouts are now unknown.

The FBI is in the preliminary stages of an investigation of the matter. Special Agent Tom Simon, spokesman for the Honolulu FBI office, said the bureau “does not discuss the existence of any ongoing investigation.”
Bank of America said in a written statement that it discovered “possible embezzlement of customer-paid escrow funds” by one its employees and notified authorities of the problem.
The bank “continues to assist the FBI in the ongoing investigation,” said Rick Simon, Bank of America media relations officer.
The bank is “working with apparent victims, and as missing funds are documented, the bank is restoring the funds to their escrow accounts and moving toward completion of their loans, when appropriate,” Simon said.
Several sources familiar with Kim’s activities said he convinced his bank mortgage loan clients that checks they wrote to be deposited in escrow accounts should be made out to Kim personally. Kim allegedly never deposited the money in escrow but cashed the checks and used the proceeds to pay pressing gambling debts.
In the meantime, Kim has vanished.
“No one knows where he is,” said one person familiar with the matter.
“There’s some serious auditing going on now of his customer accounts,” said another source.
Kim, who speaks Korean, was described by business acquaintance as a “very productive” member of the bank’s mortgage loan office here.
He previously worked here as a loan officer for Countrywide Financial, the mortgage giant that was acquired by Bank of America in early 2008 during the national subprime mortgage financial crisis.
In a strange twist, the Bank of America last year filed a foreclosure suit against Kim in state court for defaulting on a $452,000 mortgage loan he borrowed in 2005 from Fremont Investment and Loan to buy an apartment in the upscale Hawaiki Tower condominium project near Ala Moana Center.
Kim’s loan was packaged with other “asset-backed securities” that were acquired by the Bank of America later in 2005 from Bear Stearns, the huge New York-based investment bank that collapsed in 2008 during the subprime mortgage crisis.
Kim allegedly failed to make monthly mortgage payments beginning in August of 2007, and by August of last year, his arrearages totaled nearly $129,000, the court paperwork said.
A process server who attempted to deliver a copy of the Bank of America foreclosure suit to Kim in October of last year reported that Kim couldn’t be located and hadn’t lived at Hawaiki Tower “for over a year.”
Kim at the time was still working at the Bank of America’s downtown Honolulu mortgage loan office, but was never formally served with the foreclosure papers, according to court files.
David Rosen, the attorney representing Bank of America in the foreclosure case, said he was never told that Kim worked for the Bank of America.
“I am not aware that the Michael Kim in the suit is even the same Michael Kim you’re talking about,” Rosen said.
But sources familiar with Kim said that officials in the bank’s office here were aware of the foreclosure suit filed against him.
Within a matter of months, Kim’s alleged theft of customer money was discovered and he was discharged.

Property records state that Kim was single when he bought the Hawaiki apartment in 2005, but in 2008, the Internal Revenue Service filed a $66,175 tax lien against him and a woman identified as his wife.

The back personal income taxes, owed for the years 2004 to 2006, were repaid in 2009, and the lien was removed.

When Kim worked for Countrywide Financial here, he was licensed by the state to work as a mortgage solicitor. As a Bank of America employee, he was exempted from the licensure requirement and his license expired at the end of 2008.

A tougher new licensing law for mortgage loan originators enacted by the state took effect January 1, but bank employees are still exempt.

Non-bank mortgage loan officers must now be listed on a national registry called the National Mortgage Licensing System, undergo criminal background and credit checks and complete 20 hours of education on subjects including federal laws, ethics, fraud, consumer protection and fair lending practices.

Mortgage loan officers that work for banks must register with the National Mortgage Licensing System, but are exempted from other requirements of the new law.

Convicted embezzler freed pending appeal in Massachusetts

A 59-year-old Grafton Street woman has been released from custody pending an appeal of her Oct. 26 conviction for bank embezzlement.
Susan Carcieri of 521 Grafton St. was sentenced to 4 to 7 years in state prison Nov. 1 after a Worcester Superior Court jury found her and her husband, George Labadie, guilty of staging an Aug. 27, 2002, robbery at the Wyman-Gordon Federal Credit Union on Grafton Street, where Ms. Carcieri worked, and making off with $210,000 in stolen money.
Judge Peter W. Agnes Jr., who presided over the couple's trial, allowed a motion yesterday asking that Ms. Carcieri's sentence, which she began serving Nov. 1, be stayed pending an appeal of her conviction to the state Appeals Court.
Her lawyer, Leonard J. Staples, argued in a brief in support of his request for a stay that the court's denial of his motion for a mistrial during jury deliberations constituted a “meritorious” issue on appeal.
The request for a mistrial was made after the foreman of the deliberating jury reported to the judge Oct. 25 that she had been approached over the previous weekend by someone on Mr. Labadie's behalf at the diner where she worked. Judge Agnes excused the juror and replaced her with an alternate juror. He also revoked Mr. Labadie's bail.
The jury was instructed to begin its deliberations anew and rendered its unanimous verdicts the next day.
Mr. Labadie, who was sentenced to 10 to 12 years' imprisonment, remains in custody. He is also appealing his conviction.
Mr. Staples argued that Ms. Carcieri met the criteria for a stay of her sentence pending appeal in that she did not pose a risk of flight or further criminal conduct and had raised an issue worthy of presentation to an appellate court.
Prosecutors opposed the request.

Ex-employee at Davis, California bank arrested in $30,000 embezzlement

A former Davis bank employee has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling more $30,000 from First Northern Bank's Davis branch.
Lt. Paul Doroshov of the Davis Police Department said Kathleen Kolb, 35, of Davis was arrested Dec. 27.
Police were contacted Nov. 19 by officials with the bank's Dixon headquarters who said they suspected her of embezzling money from customers' accounts. Police then conducted their own financial investigation, which led to the arrest, Doroshov said.
Kolb is accused of taking money from various accounts, including line of credit accounts, through at least 14 fraudulent transactions between November 2007 and October 2010, he said.
"Some were call for cash, or cash on demand accounts," Doroshov said.
Kolb was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement, forgery, grand theft and identity theft, in the sense that when she made unauthorized debits from the accounts she was essentially impersonating someone else, he said.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bank employee arrested on embezzlement charges in Texas

A local bank supervisor is accused of embezzling at least $37,000 in unauthorized debit transactions, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

La Blanca resident Lisa Rodriguez, 41, was arrested Tuesday morning by FBI agents after a federal grand jury in McAllen indicted her on three separate counts Dec. 28, officials said.
The indictment alleges Rodriguez, a First National Bank supervisor, misappropriated numerous undeliverable debit cards and their corresponding personal identification numbers to conduct at least $37,000 in unauthorized debit card transactions including cash withdrawals at ATMs in McAllen, Edinburg and San Antonio.
As bank supervisor, Rodriguez was in charge of processing customer debit cards that were returned in the mail as undeliverable, officials said. She allegedly used those cards and their corresponding personal identification numbers to withdraw money from April 2009 to July 2010.
Rodriguez was released on bond Tuesday after an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos, officials said. If convicted, she could face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bank Employee Sent To Prison In Fraud Case in Honolulu, Hawaii

A Honolulu federal judge Monday sentenced a former American Savings Bank employee to four months in prison in a fraud case involving hundreds of thousands of dollars from a customer's account.

Marilyn DeMotta was convicted of diverting $300,000 from the account of Ada P.S. Lim, 91, in 2007. The money was diverted to new accounts to make it look like the bank was bringing in more customers, officials said.
Judge David Ezra sentenced DeMotta to the prison time, four months of house arrest and three years of probation. A judge ruled DeMotta must serve the prison time in Hawaii, but the rest of the time can be served in Nevada, where she cares for her handicapped husband.
Since the case began, the victim, Lim, has died. Prosecutors said that made prosecuting the case more difficult.
After the incident, a new law was introduced requiring financial institutions to report any suspicion an older person is being ripped off.

Wurm pleas guilty to aiding theft in Topeka, Kansas

A Jefferson County man who diverted more than $100,000 from Meriden State Bank by padding construction costs of a Topeka branch pleaded guilty Monday to bank embezzlement, U.S. Attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom said.

Michael R. Wurm, 49, of Meriden, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of aiding and abetting theft by a bank officer, a charge stemming from helping former Meriden State Bank president Scott Becker take money from the bank. Grissom's office said Wurm admitted to helping Becker embezzle funds in 2001 and 2002.
Grissom said Wurm admitted in his plea that Becker convinced the bank's board to construct a branch on S.W. Fairlawn Road in Topeka, and that Becker and Wurm concealed from the board the fact that Becker would be serving as the undisclosed general contractor on the project. Prosecutors said Becker falsely represented to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that no insider would be involved or benefit from the construction of the branch in order to receive approval for the project.
To conceal his involvement, prosecutors said Becker had Wurm inflate billings from Louis Droge Construction to cover draw requests to the bank for construction of the branch. Becker then approved the draw requests, which totaled more than $385,000. Prosecutors said Wurm collected about $115,206 more from the bank than the amount Wurm paid to Droge Construction, with that money going to Becker.
Wurm is set for sentencing March 21. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million.
Co-defendant Scott Becker pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison. Co-defendant Stephanie R. Smith pleaded guilty and is set for sentencing Jan. 24.