Search This Blog

Friday, September 13, 2013


 A former southwest Missouri bank branch manager pleaded guilty to bank fraud in the theft of more than $316,000 from elderly customers' accounts.

Thirty-three-year-old Jennifer Gunter, of Republic, also pleaded guilty Thursday to not reporting the embezzled income on her taxes.

Gunter was the branch manager at the Guaranty Bank in Nixa until she was fired in November 2012.

The U.S. Attorney's office says Gunter admitted that she repeatedly took money from bank accounts of four elderly bank customers and used the money for personal expenses.

Prosecutors say Gunter set the accounts to "do not mail" to prevent the customers from receiving their bank statements and discovering the thefts.

Gunter faces a sentence of up to 33 years without parole, a fine up to $1.1 million and paying restitution.

Gunter waived her right to a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to bank fraud and filing a false income tax return.  The Internal Revenue Service estimates it’s owed about $50,000 because she under-reported her income from the thefts by $258,000 total, over several tax years.

The plea agreement says Gunter "submitted transaction tickets, withdrawal slips, and cashier’s
checks that withdrew monies from the bank accounts of L.O., G.F., F.F.T., and F.N., which purported to have the signature of the account holder or an authorized signatory  who  approved the transaction and withdrawal of monies." It also says she changed the status of the customers' accounts so they wouldn't get mailed statements, keeping them from discovering the thefts.

The plea agreement doesn't specify what a judge will order Gunter’s sentence to be.  She could get up to 30 years in prison plus a fine up to $1 million for bank fraud, and up to a three-year sentence plus a fine up to $100,000 fine for filing a false return.  Gunter probably will get less than that, however, because she pleaded guilty and didn't force prosecutors to seek an indictment or go to trial.  She could also be ordered to make restitution to the customers, the IRS or both.

The charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office say the thefts happened in Greene and Christian counties, where Gunter worked for Guaranty Bank.   Gunter is not in jail as she awaits her sentencing hearing, which is not scheduled.

No comments:

Post a Comment