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Friday, March 1, 2013

Former VP of Hill County bank released on bond for embezzlement charge in Texas

A former First National Bank of Whitney vice president who is scheduled to plead guilty next week to embezzling more than 
$6 million from the institution was released on bond Thursday.
U.S. Magistrate Jeffrey C. Manske set a $100,000 unsecured bond for Mary Helen “Murty” Lane, who worked for 27 years at the bank. Lane, 57, who is living with family members in Houston, is set to plead guilty March 7 to theft, embezzlement or misapplication by a bank officer or employee, said her attorney, John Floyd, of Houston.
She is charged with embezzling more than $6 million from the Hill County bank during a 10-year 
period.
Before releasing her on bond, the judge asked if Lane constitutes a flight risk because of the amount she allegedly stole.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Frazier told Manske the government does not consider her a flight risk and agreed to the unsecured bond, which means Lane was released Thursday without having to pay anything but will be liable for $100,000 if she misses a court date.
Lane had not been arrested and made arrangements to be in court Thursday for her initial appearance.
Dressed in a black-and-white pattern jacket and black pants, Lane told Manske that she is a high school graduate with 30 hours of college credit as she stood in line with two men wearing jail clothes who are charged with distribution of crack cocaine and two others charged with weapons violations.
Lane, who resigned as vice president in January 2012, was accompanied to court by her brother, her sister and her brother-in-law, Floyd said.
Michael Farquhar, president of the bank, also attended the hearing Thursday. He declined comment as he left court.
Floyd said he could not comment at length while the case remains pending. He declined to say if Floyd has a gambling problem or if she would be able to repay any of the money she reportedly took from the bank.

Gambling trips
Federal authorities have alleged in court documents that Lane used her reportedly ill-gotten gains to take lavish gambling trips and to buy expensive
sports cars.
A co-worker told an FBI agent that Lane kept so much cash on hand that she went home on a few occasions to get cash when the bank ran out of $100 bills.
Lane retrieved
$100 bills from her home and brought them back to use at the bank in exchange for smaller bills, according to court records.
Federal authorities say in court records she removed large amounts of cash from the vault and then created false bank documents to hide her thefts and to “fool bank employees and bank
auditors.”
Lane used the “majority of the embezzled money” to gamble at casinos in Las Vegas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, court documents
allege.
Lane often gave her co-workers $100 bills, claiming she was a big winner at the casino, records
indicate.
If convicted, Lane faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million.

The former vice-president of the Whitney First National Bank stands accused of stealing more than $6 million from her employer. In the federal information filed against her, she is facing an embezzlement charge.

Investigators claim that the woman took huge sums of money from the bank's safe and then falsified bank documents to hide the money that had been taken. Allegedly, the woman used most of the money to gamble. When she would return from trips, investigators say the woman handed out money to her co-workers and told them she had won it gambling.

Police claim that the bank once ran out of $100 bills, so the woman went to her home and retrieved some she had. She then exchanged them for $20 bills at the bank. She is also accused of buying expensive cars with money she allegedly stole.

The woman worked at the bank for 27 years and resigned in January 2012. According to court documents, the alleged embezzlement scheme went on for 10 years.

In a case where a defendant is charged with embezzlement, the prosecution must prove that the defendant took money or other property and intended to take it without the owner's consent. If the defendant lacked this intent, then she cannot be convicted of embezzlement.

The penalty for embezzlement is determined by the value of the goods or amount of money that was taken. The smallest penalty is a fine of less than $500 for taking less than $50. However, the penalty for taking $200,000 or more is a fine of up to $10,000 and up to ninety-nine years in prison.

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