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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.