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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Former Bank Officer Faces Prison, Millions in Restitution for Embezzlement in Oklahoma


A former bank officer has been sentenced to four years and nine months in prison and ordered to pay millions of dollars in restitution after pleading guilty in what a federal prosecutor called “the largest internal bank theft” in the history of the Tulsa-based Northern District of Oklahoma.

Janice Mora Adams, a former senior vice president for private banking and internal control officer of Peoples Bank, stated in court documents that she initiated fraudulent loans and accounts as part of a scheme in which she embezzled funds from May 2004 until February 2010.

Adams, 55, pleaded guilty Feb. 28 to a charge that alleged she misapplied money over the nearly six-year period. The Broken Arrow resident stipulated in her plea agreement that her conduct caused a loss to the bank of $3.05 million. However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles McLoughlin said Tuesday that, due to its insurance coverage, the bank itself only sustained a loss of about $4,000.

Adams also pleaded guilty in February to five tax crimes connected to the money she embezzled but did not report on her federal income taxes.

McLoughlin said in a court document that what Adams did amounted to a “very complex and complicated looting of Peoples Bank.”

He said there were several different elements of the scheme, but that the primary method of embezzlement involved Adams creating fictitious loans based on information obtained from existing accounts of bank customers without those customers’ knowledge.

McLoughlin said, by the time it was over, Adams was responsible for “the largest internal bank theft” in the history of Tulsa’s Northern District. Adams’ purchases included nearly $250,000 on items such as cosmetics, perfume and clothes from Dillard’s; more than $450,000 on jewelry from Moody’s; more than $66,000 on merchandise from White House Black Market and nearly $70,000 on goods from the Pottery Barn.

The bank’s news release stated it “remains financially strong and has strengthened its internal controls to (ensure) that improper activity is uncovered and stopped at the earliest possible date.”

U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan ordered Monday that Adams pay more than $3 million in restitution to the bank’s insurer as well as $859,474 to the Internal Revenue Service for tax years 2005 through 2009. Adams was also ordered by Eagan to be under court supervision for five years after being released from prison.

Eagan ordered Adams, who is on bond, to report to prison by Sept. 12.

Adams pleaded guilty in February to an amended charge filed Jan. 19 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tulsa.

She also agreed to pay a criminal money judgment of more than $2.6 million.

The amount is meant to represent the money she misapplied, reduced by $317,289 in jewelry that she already has forfeited.

Adams also agreed to forfeit more than $24,000 in lieu of two vehicles obtained with proceeds of her crime.

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