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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.



Read more: http://blogs.sacbee.com/crime/archives/2011/01/ex-employee-at.html#ixzz1AU03cUJt

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.