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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ex-bank teller blames love for why he embezzled $10,000 in Ohio

“I did it for love.”
That’s the reason a former Chase Bank teller gave a judge yesterday to explain why he stole $10,000 from the bank.
“I was in a relationship, and I didn’t have any money,” Imran Z. Cheema, 24, said before he pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of embezzling. He said he wanted to impress his girlfriend with the money.
Cheema, who now lives in Tampa, Fla., worked at the bank’s Northern Lights office at 3233 Cleveland Ave. Just before he quit last summer and moved to New York, he took the cash from a teller cash dispenser and “put it in my pocket,” he told U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.
According to a Secret Service criminal complaint, Cheema’s theft was discovered during an audit a week after he left. The audit found that the dispenser, which tellers use to refill the cash in their drawers, was short $10,000. Surveillance video showed Cheema at the dispenser when cash was removed on July 12 and on July 13, the day he left.
When an investigator spoke by telephone with Cheema on July 25, he said he was in Pakistan, his homeland. But investigators learned from a witness that Cheema was in New York, and that’s where he was arrested on Aug. 2.
Cheema has repaid the $10,000. He said he is living in Florida with his brother because “my brother didn’t want me to get into any more trouble.” He said his father is buying a gas station in Florida so Cheema can work there.
Cheema could be sentenced to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay a $1 million fine for embezzlement. But Watson said that, based on the amount of money stolen and Cheema’s lack of a criminal record, his prison sentence likely will not exceed six months.
Watson asked Cheema if he still has the same girlfriend.
“No, your honor,” he replied.

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