Search This Blog

Monday, May 6, 2013

Prosecutors seek prison for Owego, New York woman in bank embezzlement case

An Owego woman, one of three former employees at Chemung Canal Trust Co.’s Owego branch who admitted embezzling more than $325,000 over eight years, is the only defendant facing the prospect of time in federal prison.

Gwenn Gooding was portrayed in recent sentencing memorandums as someone who abused her position of trust and is unlikely to fully repay what was stolen, but also a working class mother with good character who made poor choices to support her family.

Gooding admitted stealing more than $195,000.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has recommended she receive at least 2 years in prison when sentenced June 26.

“Bank employees, surrounded by cash all day long, should know that there will be a serious consequence to embezzling bank funds, particularly the amount stolen in this case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Dooley wrote in court papers.

The embezzlement was uncovered as a result of an audit of the bank branch following severe flooding in September 2011.

Gooding, 43, former head teller; Megan Horton, 54, former branch manager; and Shannon Moore, 38, a former teller, admitted embezzling funds between December 2004 and September 2011. Horton admitted stealing more than $200,000, and Moore admitted to more than $25,000.

Gooding — described by her attorney Randi Bianco as active in community events like the Strawberry Festival and youth soccer and softball leagues — started stealing bank funds after bills began piling up and the family couldn’t make ends meet, Bianco wrote in sentencing papers.

“She used the money to pay bills and buy food for the family. At first, Mrs. Gooding paid the money back to the bank when she received her weekly paycheck, but things got worse,” Bianco wrote.

Bianco said Gooding couldn’t find work after her arrest, has no criminal record and should not receive prison time due to her willingness to pay restitution.

“It is significant that Mrs. Gooding never spent the bank’s money on luxury items, but used it only for living expenses,” she added.

Moore paid $27,000 in restitution before pleading guilty in January. On April 23, she was sentenced to 80 hours of community service and two years of supervised release.

Horton is to be sentenced on May 9. Prosecutors, noting her amount stolen was repaid after she resigned from the bank, have not recommended prison.

But that isn’t the case here, Dooley wrote in Gooding’s sentencing memorandum.

“It can be argued,” he said, “that this defendant’s background made what she did even more explicable and inexcusable.”

No comments:

Post a Comment