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Monday, July 1, 2013

Former StellarOne bank teller ordered to pay $16,700 in Virginia

 A former bank teller was ordered to pay StellarOne $16,700 in restitution in exchange for her guilty plea Friday to a misdemeanor charge of embezzlement, court records show.

Betty F. Edwards, 44, of Waynesboro, is the former head teller at the bank on Lucy Lane in Waynesboro.

The Waynesboro Police Department reported Edwards’ arrest last week.

While Edwards was under investigation, her attorney, Frankie Coyner, and assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David Ledbetter, reached a plea agreement that brought the probe to a swift end on Friday.

Authorities officially charged Edwards with a felony count of embezzlement, but she was allowed to plead to an amended misdemeanor charge while paying the bank back in full. The entire proceeding took place Friday morning.

Capt. Kelly Walker said it’s unusual to have a suspect charged and adjudicated the same day, but it’s “not unheard of,” and that he’s seen it happen a few times during his law enforcement career.

Coyner did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Court records show the thefts took place between April 2008 and October 2011, when financial discrepancies at the bank were picked up by an audit, according to Ledbetter.

Ledbetter said he opted for a plea deal in the case because pursuing felony charges against Edwards might have proved difficult.

“It would have been an exceptionally complex case to present at trial,” he said.

The prosecutor also noted that StellarOne supported the plea deal.

“The victim was made whole, which is unusual in an embezzlement case,” Ledbetter said.

Asked why Edwards stole from the bank, Ledbetter replied, “I can only speculate as to what her motive was.”

Edwards, who has no criminal history, was given a one-year jail sentence, which was suspended. She has also been placed on one year of unsupervised probation.

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