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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ex-bank worker who stole $600K goes to prison

A former employee at Texas Capital Bank was sentenced Thursday to 33 months in federal prison without parole for embezzling more than $620,000 from accounts connected to a bank official.

For more than 15 years, Stacy L. Rapp served as the trusted assistant to Mark Johnson, who was regional president and is now vice chairman.

Rapp pleaded guilty last year to embezzlement, and U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia on Thursday ordered her to turn herself in to prison authorities later this year and to pay restitution.

In February 2013, Johnson discovered several transactions in his personal account that he was not familiar with, Rapp's plea agreement said.

When Johnson asked Rapp about the issue, she said she would look into the matter, the agreement said. Instead, she abruptly left the bank and never returned.

An investigation by the Secret Service showed Rapp had been stealing money since at least February 2007 and through February 2013, the plea deal said. She accessed Johnson's accounts 196 times, and those of his family, for money for personal expenses.

The scheme included fraudulently transferring money from accounts of the Johnson family to her own accounts at other banks, forging Johnson's signature on documents and checks and even withdrawing cash from an account belonging to Johnson's mother-in-law.

The plea agreement said she spent the money on credit card payments, vacations, “spa experiences,” her children's college tuition and a down payment on her house in Boerne. The bank is FDIC insured, records show.

Johnson was traveling and was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

He has a long record of community service, with a leadership role in numerous nonprofit organizations. Johnson previously served as president of the Alamo Area Council of Boy Scouts of America and as director of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, according to a biography on the Texas Capital Bank website.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ardmore Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Theft, Embezzlement, and Misapplication

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced that RICHARD PAUL GEURIN, 48, of Ardmore, Oklahoma, pled guilty to Bank Theft, Embezzlement and Misapplication, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 656.
The charge arose from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The defendant was indicted in August 2014.
The Indictment alleged that from on or about February 3, 2011, until on or about February 24, 2014, in the Eastern District of Oklahoma, defendant RICHARD PAUL GEURIN, being an officer, director, agent, or employee of, or connected in a capacity with, First Bank & Trust of Duncan, Oklahoma, a bank whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, with intent to injure and defraud the said First Bank & Trust of Duncan, Oklahoma, willfully misapplied, embezzled, abstracted, and purloined more than $1,000.00 of the moneys, funds, assets or securities entrusted to the custody or care of First Bank & Trust of Duncan, Oklahoma, in that the defendant withdrew cash from the accounts of certain bank customers and misapplied, embezzled, abstracted and purloined the funds for his own use or benefit.
The Honorable Steven P. Shreder, Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, in Muskogee, accepted the guilty plea and ordered the completion of a presentence report.
The statutory range of punishment is up 30 years and $1,000,000.00 fine. The defendant will remain on bond pending sentencing.
Assistant United States Attorney Rob Wallace represented the United States.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bridgeport woman sentenced for embezzlement

Roxanna Foley, 53, of Bridgeport, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to 30 months in prison for embezzlement by a bank employee and ordered to pay $315,000 in restitution, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

Foley worked at Eastern Sierra Community Bank (ECSB) in Bridgeport. According to the plea agreement, starting in November 2011, bank officials noticed discrepancies with the Bridgeport branch of ESCB. On March 19, 2012, managers from the bank made an unannounced visit to Foley’s branch to investigate a suspicious $90,000 transaction. After a review of the local bank’s records, officials identified $90,000 in misplaced funds, as well as $6,000 missing from Foley’s teller drawer.

During the surprise inspection, Foley admitted to taking over $300,000 from the bank. A later review of the ECSB’s accounts uncovered $322,000 in missing funds, as well as multiple electronic transactions moving money between accounts made by Foley. Official also learned that Foley had been circumventing normal banking procedures at ECSB, including single-handedly taking over all counting and auditing of ECSB accounts when dual-counting procedures were required.

At sentencing, Judge Mueller found that the loss in this case was “significant,” and that Foley “succumbed to the temptation” of having access to such funds. In sentencing Foley, Judge Mueller sought to punish Foley for her conduct and stated that a “period of time in a federal facility will serve as a deterrent” to Foley and others.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Mono County District Attorney’s Office, the Mono County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Kyle Reardon prosecuted the case.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tellers At Multiple Banks Charged With Stealing From Customers In Fraud Scheme

Prosecutors Tuesday said hundreds of customers at White Plains bank are victims of theft – and the thieves are tellers who allegedly took their money.
As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, bank robbers usually walk in the front door and announce a stick-up, or hand the teller a threatening note. But this time, prosecutors said it was the tellers themselves who were up to no good.
Customers were stunned to find that their personal information might not be safe – even with bank tellers.
“It’s crazy. It’s insane,” said Bonnie Vulaj of Yorktown. “I mean, how could someone do that?”
“I don’t feel safe not knowing that this was going on, no, I don’t,” said Dawn Marie Rabelye of White Plains.
Westchester County prosecutors alleged that that a ring of five people stole some $850,000 from hundreds of customers in what was the ultimate inside job.
Those charged included alleged ringleader Tyrone Lee, 28, of the Bronx; and alleged co-conspirator bank tellers Nadia Figueroa, 23, and Kalika Arline, 29 – also both of the Bronx – and Venise Cole, 27, of Florida.

A fifth suspect – Anthony Davis, 29, of the Bronx – allegedly ran a fake ID operation for the ring.
They said bank tellers took customers’ sensitive information like Social Security and account numbers, and gave them to others in the ring — who would then make fake IDs including drivers licenses and checks.
Authorities said the others in the ring would take the fake IDs, go back to the same branches, and
withdraw money from the accounts.
“I fortunately haven’t been impacted by it, but I know people who have,” another resident said, “and it creates a lot of problems, and today with Internet and everything else, it is, you know, risky.”
Prosecutors said the Banks targeted included Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, TD Bank and Wachovia.
In New York, three affected branches were in the Bronx, two were in White Plains, one was in Yonkers, and one was in Newburgh.
“I mean, to get a job as a dishwasher, you have to get checked out thoroughly – never mind a bank teller handling other people’s private information,” said Nancy O’Sullivan of White Plains. “I just, I’m stunned at that.”
In a statement, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “Identity theft is a complex and growing problem and we must redouble our efforts to ensure that all of us, from large corporations to small businesses and families, are better protected.”
Authorities said the scheme went on for at least four years, and used wiretaps to bust up the ring. Now, many bank customers said they are worried about how to keep their money safe.
“I’m probably going to have to put it under my mattress like back in the days,” said Melroy Scott of White Plains.
Banks were also hit on Long Island, and in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The Attorney General’s office said the banks have been alerted and are believed to have reimbursed the customers for their losses. But the office said those with questions should call their banks, and advised people to keep very careful track of their bank statements.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Credit union employee admits to embezzling $370K

A Cookeville credit union employee admitted to a major embezzlement case Monday.

Latisha Cochran, 36, admitted to issuing fraudulent loans to fictitious borrowers while she worked at the Middle Tennessee Federal Credit Union.

Prosecutors said Cochran used the money from the loans on personal items, and to obtain credit cards to make more personal purchases.

In all, Cochran admitted to taking more than $370,000, all of which she will have to pay back.
Cochran also faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

Bank embezzlement trial gets underway

Testimony began today in the federal trial of a former bank manage accused of stealing $336,000 from his bank.
Michael Bernick, 50, of Stanton Heights, former director of Metropolitan Savings Bank in Lawrenceville, was charged in March with theft, embezzlement and misappropriation by a bank officer following an FBI investigation.
Agents said Mr. Bernick paid himself from the bank's money in the form of checks and wire transfers between April 2005 and March 2007.
The former vice president of the bank, Donna Shebetich, pleaded guilty in 2011 to filing false reports with regulators to hide the bank's dire finances. The bank was shut down in 2007.
Shebetich is serving six years in federal prison. She was also ordered to pay more than $10 million in restitution.

As other banks started foreclosing on his rental properties, a former director of a defunct Lawrenceville community bank used his position to siphon more than $401,000 to save those properties, a federal prosecutor said on Monday in federal court.

Michael P. Bernick, 51, of Stanton Heights was partially responsible for the failure of the historic Metropolitan Savings Bank, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Bloch told a federal jury during opening statements in Bernick's criminal trial.

“This was a sum of money that, you will hear, threatened the bank's very existence,” she said.
A federal grand jury indicted Bernick on 10 counts of theft, embezzlement or misappropriation by a bank officer. Each count carries a possible sentence of 30 years in prison.

Bernick's attorney, James Brink, denied that Bernick was trying to steal from the bank.
He used an informal loan process that several other bank officials used, he said. They would get the money first and submit paperwork later on. The FDIC in 2007 came in and seized the bank before Bernick could file the paperwork on loans he took out in 2005 and 2006, Brink said.

“Sloppy? Yes,” Brink said. “Was it proper? Probably not. But he just took advantage of what everyone else was doing.”

Bernick became a customer of the bank in 2002 and obtained three legitimate loans. Then he began dating Donna Shebetich, the bank's vice president, and became one of the bank's directors in 2004, Bloch said.

When Bernick started taking money out of the bank, neither he nor Shebetich mentioned it to the other directors during their monthly board meetings, she said.

Shebetich, 49, pleaded guilty in June 2011 to filing false reports with bank regulators to disguise the bank's poor financial condition before it suddenly shut down in February 2007.
U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab in November 2011 sentenced her to six years in prison, five years of probation and ordered her to pay $10.2 million in restitution to the FDIC and 24 other individuals and businesses.

The trial is scheduled to continue for most of the week.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Former Bank Employee in North Carolina Faces Embezzlement and Forgery Charges in North Carolina.

A former employee of the Fifth Third Bank in Lincolnton, NC has been arrested and charged with embezzlement and forgery after taking money from a customer’s account and blaming the fraud on another customer.
Jeffrey Dean Etchison, Jr, 33 years old, reportedly forged a savings account slip and withdrew about $2,000 from an elderly victim’s savings account. Ten days after the fraudulent withdrawal, the elderly customer reported that money had been stolen from his bank account, and the bank called police to investigate.
Etchison reportedly told police that another bank customer had made the illegal withdrawal. Investigators took surveillance footage and began investigating the false suspect. However, when police finally interviewed him, they determined that he was a witness and not the perpetrator.
After police brought Etchison in again for questioning, he reportedly admitted to the embezzlement and forgery.
He was arrested on Tuesday, September 2nd, for identity theft, embezzlement and forgery of an instrument, uttering a forged instrument, and obtaining property under false pretense. He was released from Lincolnton County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

Embezzlement Charges in South Carolina
Embezzlement refers to the theft of money or property by an individual who was trusted and responsible for handling the money or property of another party, a white-collar crime that commonly occurs in corporate settings.
Embezzlement cases are rarely clear-cut, as the accused are the ones expected to have handled the assets that were embezzled. Simple human error or oversights could lead to wrongful embezzlement.
For an individual to be convicted of embezzlement, the prosecution must prove:
1.     The defendant manipulated resources illegally
2.     The victim entrusted the defendant with these resources that were allegedly embezzled
3.     The defendant intended to deprive the owner of these resources
4.     The defendant acquired access to these resources through his/her employment.
Embezzlement charges carry severe penalties. The defendant risks ruining his reputation and loss of employment even if they are later found not guilty of the crime. Punishments for those convicted of embezzlement can include fines, imprisonment, probation, payment of compensation and loss of legal rights among other potential punishments.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bank alleges employees stole $1.6 million in New Jersey

Two former BankAsiana employees are denying accusations made by the acquirer of the Palisades Park-based community bank that between 2010 and October 2013 they embezzled nearly $1.6 million.

Los Angeles-based Wilshire Bank’s civil lawsuit, filed in federal court in Newark, has prompted counterclaims of "baseless" and "malicious" prosecution by defendants Miye "Karen" Chon of Englewood Cliffs, a former assistant vice president in BankAsiana’s Fort Lee branch, and co-defendant Suk Joon "James S." Ryu of River Vale, a former chief operating officer of BankAsiana.

Lawyers for Wilshire Bank and Chon said Tuesday that they would not comment on the litigation.

In court papers, Chon denies she stole money from the bank’s vault.

Ryu denied he was involved in any embezzlement scheme, and alleged that "Chon intentionally made a false statement that he was involved … probably for the purpose of reducing her obvious liability in this scheme."

Ryu also is countersuing Chon for "malicious conduct" and "making false statements."

"My client is very innocent," Ryu’s Fort Lee attorney, Jungsup Kim, said Tuesday by phone.

The legal wrangling that began in March is entering the discovery phase this week, where plaintiffs and defendants will gather documents and take depositions from witnesses. The litigation is likely to drag on for months, the lawyers say.

Wilshire’s initial complaint alleged Chon, aided and abetted by Ryu, periodically took cash from the bank’s vault between 2010 and October 2013 and deducted the amounts from unwitting customers’ certificate-of-deposit accounts.

False withdrawal records and funds transfers from other customers’ accounts were alleged to have been created to cover up the thefts in the "lapping" scheme.

According to Wilshire, records related to seven customer CD accounts were falsified.

Wilshire claims that stolen cash was shared by Chon, Ryu and Chon’s husband, Tae Jong Kim, and his bagel companies, which include Bergenfield Bagel & Cafe Inc., Maywood Bagel Inc., UB’s Pizza & Bagel Inc., UB’s Bagel & Cafe Inc. and UBK Bagels Corp.

The initial complaint named BankAsiana’s former chief executive officer, Hong Sik Hur of Cliffside Park, as a defendant, alleging that he failed to properly oversee BankAsiana, and that he took a company computer and failed to immediately return a company car after he was fired "for cause" by Wilshire in February.

Under a requirement in his employment contract, those allegations are being handled separately, in an arbitration process.

 Federal prosecutors say a former assistant vice president at a northern New Jersey bank has been charged in a scheme to embezzle more than $1 million.
Miye Chon, who also is known as “Karen Chon,” turned herself in to the FBI on Tuesday and was due to make her initial court appearance later in the day. The 34-year-old Englewood Cliffs resident is charged with theft, embezzlement or misapplication of funds by a bank officer or employee.
Prosecutors say Chon was employed by BankAsiana until it was acquired by another bank in October 2013.
Chon was an operations officer and later an assistant vice president at the bank’s Fort Lee branch. She had access to customer accounts, as well as the bank’s internal account records, computer system and vault.
Over the course of several years, Chon allegedly stole more than $1 million by regularly making unauthorized transfers among accounts, and then physically removing cash from the bank’s vault.
BankAsiana’s successor bank began an internal investigation after a customer found problems with tax forms and account records. Prosecutors say the successor bank discovered that Chon, using her unique credentials, accessed BankAsiana’s computer systems on multiple occasions to make unauthorized transfers.
Chon allegedly avoided detection by making false entries in the bank’s records and ensuring that funds she removed from accounts were transferred back.
Chon allegedly embezzled funds on dozens of occasions, typically taking tens of thousands of dollars at a time.
She faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted

Friday, September 19, 2014

Bank fraud case against James City man moves to federal court

Federal authorities have taken over the case against a James City man accused of running a fraud scheme that cost SunTrust Bank more than $90,000, according to a the Williamsburg-James City Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.

More than three dozen charges against 40-year-old Rajesh Attri that were placed on a General District Court docket Thursday were all dropped. Among them were charges of credit card forgery, three counts of identity theft, 16 counts of obtaining money by false pretenses and 17 counts of issuing bad checks.

Mike Gaten, assistant commonwealth's attorney, said Thursday that a formal criminal charge made by a U.S. Attorney's Office prosecutor had been filed in federal court.

James City police said Attri is accused of paying three women to open bank accounts with small initial deposits, then making numerous fraudulent deposits and writing bad checks to withdraw the money, knowing the funds in the account were insufficient. The alleged incidents occurred between July 18 and Sept. 3, 2013, according to a criminal complaint against Attri.

In one instance noted in the complaint, a $25,000 deposit was made via check to an account opened in a woman's name. It notes the deposit amount was entered as $250, and a "correction credit" was immediately issued by SunTrust under the belief the customer had entered an incorrect amount. The full $25,000 was credited to the account before the check cleared, the document indicates. Additional similar incidents are cited in the complaint.

A man, later identified as Attri, was seen on ATM security video making the deposit, according to the complaint. It adds that Attri admitted to police he made the deposit knowing the check would not clear.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A southwestern Illinois woman faces up to three decades in federal prison

A southwestern Illinois woman faces up to three decades in federal prison now that she's admitted embezzling more than $100,000 from a bank where she worked.
Forty-five-year-old Cynthia Palmer of Alton pleaded guilty Wednesday in East St. Louis to bank fraud and is to be sentenced Dec. 15.
Authorities say Palmer was working at a U.S. Bank branch in Bethalto when she stole nearly $106,000 from the accounts of customers ranging in age from 65 to 96.
The (Alton) Telegraph reports that Palmer's attorney, John Stobbs, said he plans to introduce evidence at his client's sentencing hearing that she is a breast cancer survivor and suffered from depression.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Texas bank VP sentenced to 30 months for loan fraud

A former bank vice president was sentenced to federal prison in U.S. District Court in Waco, Texas for embezzling tens of thousands of dollars.
U.S. District Judge sentenced Cory Cole to 30 months in federal prison, followed by five years on supervised released.
He was also ordered him to pay a $50,000 fine.
Cole embezzled the money through loans based on fraudulent documentation.
On July 3, Cole pleaded guilty to one count of theft or embezzlement by a bank employee.
He admitted that beginning in January 2013, while service as a vice president of Citizens State Bank in Itasca, he stole bank funds by approving more than 20 fraudulent loans

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Former bank worker sentenced for embezzlement in Missouri

A Kansas City woman is going to prison for embezzling more than $650,000 for the bank where she worked.
The U.S. Attorney's office says 54-year-old Lisa L. Taylor was sentenced Thursday to six years and six months without parole.
Taylor pleaded guilty in February to defrauding UMB Bank, where she worked as a closing account specialist from May 2006 until October 2010. Eleven of her friends and relatives in Missouri and Kansas also pleaded guilty to taking part in the conspiracy.
Taylor admitted generating 377 fraudulent checks, some of them payable to friends and relatives who cashed the checks and gave Taylor part of the proceeds.
The scheme also involved $97,000 worth of checks made payable to fictitious names. Taylor forged the signatures and deposited the checks into her own bank account.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Two More Charged in Taupa Lithuanian Fraud Case

Two Ohio men were charged Tuesday for allegedly embezzling nearly $1.9 million in a massive fraud case that led to the collapse of the $23.6 million Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union in Cleveland in July 2013, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Cleveland.

Gary Chaney, 49, of Streetsboro, and Patrick Bruckman, 58, of Chester Township, both Cleveland suburbs, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit theft or embezzlement from a credit union.

Bruckman and Chaney maintained personal accounts at the cooperative, as well as a corporate account for Network Systems Engineering a computer consulting firm they owned, according to the court documents.

These two men and four others including Alex Spirikaitis, Taupa Lithuanian’s former president/CEO, allegedly conspired to defraud the credit union from 2007 through 2013.

The fraud case caused a $33.5 million loss to NCUSIF, according to the NCUA Office of Inspector General’s material loss report.

Bruckman and Chaney allegedly wrote checks drawn on their personal and corporate accounts for which there were insufficient funds, court papers show.

Chaney withdrew approximately $241,000 from his personal account. Bruckman withdrew approximately $63,000 from his personal account. Both collectively withdrew $1.5 million from their corporate accounts for which there were insufficient funds. The total loss to the credit union was $1.8 million, federal prosecutors alleged.

Although Chaney and Bruckman did not have sufficient funds in their accounts to cover their withdrawals, Spirikaitis allowed the overdrafts to clear their accounts. Chaney and Bruckman also never submitted any credit applications or loan documentation for the money they received from Spirikaitis to cover their overdrafts, according to court documents.

Last week, John Struna, 51, of the Cleveland suburb of Concord Township, was indicted for allegedly embezzling $2.3 million from Taupa Lithuanian. He was indicted on one count each for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements. He also was indicted on four counts of money laundering.

Spirikaitis pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

He admitted to embezzling $4.2 million from Taupa Lithuanian between 2001 and 2013. With the funds, he built a $1.6 million home in an affluent Cleveland suburb, paid for a stadium luxury suite at Cleveland Browns games and bought nine vehicles, according to court documents.

Spirikaitis is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 23.

Earlier this year, former teller Michael Ruksenas pleaded guilty to conspiring with Spirikaitis to embezzle more than $481,000 and former bookkeeper Vytas Apanavicius pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit embezzlement. He admitted to stealing nearly a million dollars from Taupa Lithuanian, with help from Spirikaitis.

In February, Ruksenas was sentenced to 17 months in federal prison. Apanavicius is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 28.

Federal prosecutors expect to charge a former credit union employee who has been identified only by the  initials, A.B., according to court documents.

The NCUA and the Ohio Department of Commerce took possession of Taupa Lithuanian in July 2013 and placed it into receivership because of insolvency. The Cleveland cooperative served about 1,150 members.

Embezzling Jacksonville banker sentenced to 5 years

Embezzling Jacksonville banker Christopher David Boston was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday afternoon for embezzling at least $10.5 million from his job at Fifth Third Bank over a four-year period.
Boston, 40, pleaded guilty in March to bank fraud. He also must pay $2 million in restitution to the bank after he's released. He faced up to 30 years in prison and a $4.4 million fine.
Boston's sentencing was delayed last month after Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams Jr. recused himself for an undisclosed reason. District Judge Brian Davis will handle the sentencing.
Boston had been free on bond and was recently allowed by a judge to travel to Ohio to help his parents with home repair issues before returning to Jacksonville for sentencing, court records show.
Boston operated a bank-fraud scheme that included stealing at least $10.5 million from one corporate account and transferring money from two individual accounts to cover the original thefts. The embezzlement occurred over 3 1/2 years ending in April 2013 at the Fifth Third Bank off San Jose Boulevard in north Mandarin.
A victim of the scheme whose husband lost and then got back nearly $6 million told the Times-Union that Boston’s actions devastated her family and refuted any notion of him being considered a Robin Hood-like character for helping his customers.
Court records show Boston used $210,000 to make $2,000 monthly mortgage payments on his family’s Mandarin home, install a backyard pool and for other expenses. The home on Emilys Crossing Court was turned over to Boston’s wife in a divorce last year, and Boston said he’s now living in another Mandarin home in the 11500 block of Summer Brook Court.
Prosecutors said Boston used the rest of the embezzled money to help his customers, and ultimately his own standing in the bank, with favors such as paying off troubled loans and making “off-book” loans to those whose applications had been denied.
The bank replenished the embezzled accounts and had arranged new loans with Boston’s customers, recovering all but about $2 million, which is federally insured, court records show.
Boston, never arrested, was asked to sign a $20,000 signature bond. Prosecutors didn’t seek detention since they considered him neither a threat to the community nor, with a 2-year-old son, a flight risk.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lake County businessman recharged for embezzlement of $2.3 million from Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union in Cleveland

A federal grand jury has recharged a Lake County businessman, John Struna, in the embezzlement of $2.3 million from Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union of Cleveland.

The seven-count indictment charges Struna with seven counts of bank fraud, making false statements and money laundering. The indictment replaces a one-count, $2.5 million information filed against Struna in January.

Credit union CEO Alex Spirikaitis, former teller Michael Ruksenas and Vytas Apanavicius, a Mentor accountant, have been convicted of similar charges of defrauding the Taupa credit union, according to a news release from the office of Steven Dettelbach, U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

“This defendant is charged as part of a group that used others' hard earned savings as a personal piggy bank,” Dettelbach said in the release. “Mr. Struna’s greed has caught up with him with this indictment.”

The National Credit Union Administration and the Ohio Department of Commerce placed Taupa into receivership last year, due to its insolvency. The credit union had about 1,150 members and assets of approximately $24 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Defendant in Detroit Mortgage Fraud Conspiracy Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud in Michigan

In July of 2013, seven individuals were indicted for the roles they played in a Detroit mortgage fraud operation. Those who were indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District Court of Michigan included Peter Allen, Suhail Hallak, Al Karana, Wasseem Shamoun, Joey Murad, Jeffrey Najor, and Jason Najor. The defendants were alleged to have used fraudulent information for the purpose of obtaining mortgage loans from banks and lending institutions beginning in January of 2006, and continuing until December of 2008. muB6xyw

It was announced by the Department of Justice on August 12, 2014 that Wasseem Shamoun has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Shamoun pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. According to the July 2013 indictment, the scheme resulted in area banks and financial institutions paying out fraudulent mortgage loan funds that totaled approximately $10 million.

Five of the seven defendants were charged with 20 counts of bank fraud each, including Shamoun. Several agencies assisted in the investigation including the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), the IRS – Criminal Investigation, and the FBI. According to the release issued by the Department of Justice, Shamoun was personally responsible for a loss of approximately $394,000 to local financial institutions.

Shamoun and his co-defendants are said to have devised a scheme in which property was purchased in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 per home. The defendants then recruited straw buyers who would be paid a fee to submit fraudulent home mortgage loan applications. The prices paid to the defendants by straw buyers for single family homes ranged from $90,000 to $120,000 per home, with the defendants paying themselves $10,000 to $50,000 commissions.

Shamoun is scheduled to be sentenced on December 2, and faces a $1 million fine and statutory maximum prison term of 30 years for his role in the conspiracy.

Federal crimes such as conspiracy to defraud financial institutions in schemes such as the one described above are extremely serious. Individuals who are accused of mortgage fraud conspiracy or other federal crimes must consult with an experienced and aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney in order to obtain the best possible results.

Broken Arrow Woman Sentenced for Bank Fraud and Tax Evasion in Oklahoma

A former manager of a credit union was sentenced on Tuesday to serve 27 months for each count of bank fraud and tax evasion, announced U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr. for the Northern District of Oklahoma and Special Agent in Charge R. Damon Rowe of the Dallas field office for the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

Eva Barroso, 54, of Broken Arrow, was sentenced to serve 27 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Chief Judge Gregory K Frizzell for one count each of bank fraud and tax evasion. At the time of the scheme, Barroso worked as a commercial services manager for Oklahoma Central Credit Union (OCCU) where her duties included marketing and servicing commercial loans. The Court entered a criminal forfeiture money judgment against the defendant in the amount of $238,177.42 representing proceeds obtained as a result of his bank fraud scheme. Barroso was also ordered to make restitution in the amount of $238,177.42 to OCCU and $57,360.50 to the Internal Revenue Service.

According to court documents, from July 2, 2009 to March 19, 2012, as part of the scheme, Barroso fabricated at least three false loans in the name of nominee entities and individuals without the knowledge and authorization of the purported borrower. Barroso admitted that she made various material false representations in obtaining these loans. She used the proceeds of these loans for her own personal benefit, including making ATM withdrawals at various casinos. To further the scheme, Barroso used some of the money to make payments on prior loans.

In addition, during the 2010 calendar year, Barroso willfully evaded a large part of income tax by failing to report to the Internal Revenue Service a total of $152,098.13 which was the money she fraudulently obtained from the scheme.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Gallant and Catherine Depew on behalf of the United States.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Former Bank Adjuster Pleads Guilty To Stealing More Than $400,000 in Conn.

 A former bank employee has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of embezzlement from a federally-insured bank, admitting she used her position to embezzle more than $400,000 to pay debts.

Maria Rosa Esteves, 40, of Bridgeport waived her right to an indictment with her plea Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

According to court documents, Esteves was employed by People's United Bank from 1993 to 2014. Starting in 2006, she worked primarily in the bank's Adjustments Department, rising to the position of lead adjuster. Her responsibilities included arranging for bank cashiers' checks to be issued to customers whose accounts need to be adjusted, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Esteves stole more than $400,000 from the bank by using cashiers' checks that she would then use to pay people or organizations to whom she owed money, such as her utility company, homeowner's insurance company and mortgage providers, the documents show.

Esteves also embezzled money by depositing cashiers' checks into bank accounts she controlled, said U.S. Attorney's spokesman Thomas Carson.

In all, Esteves misappropriated more than 300 cashiers' checks, he said.

She faces a maximum prison term of 30 years, a fine of up to $1 million and an order of restitution when she is sentenced in U.S. District Court in Hartford Nov. 7.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Waldbusser sentenced for bank fraud in Iowa

Former Wells Fargo bank manager Nicholas Waldbusser was sentenced Thursday to 21 months in prison for bank fraud.

Judge Sara Darrow said the theater enthusiast's passion for acting likely helped Mr. Waldbusser conceal a $200,000 embezzlement scheme. She described the 26-year-old man as charismatic, well-liked and intelligent -- but also manipulative of people's trust.

"You were able to draw upon your acting skills to deceive other individuals," she told Mr. Waldbusser.

In April, Mr. Waldbusser pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Rock Island, to one count of bank fraud in exchange for the dismissal of 14 similar counts. On Thursday he was ordered to repay approximately $197,000 in stolen funds -- the result of 18 months of embezzlement from the Wells Fargo branch at 4218 Avenue of the Cities, Moline, prosecutors said.

As branch supervisor, Mr. Waldbusser kept track of bank funds and was responsible for the audit process, which he manipulated in order to disguise the thefts, prosecutors said.

Calling his actions "a series of almost daily mistakes," Judge Darrow said she felt obliged to use Mr. Waldbusser as an example to deter others from similar crimes. She ordered him to self-report Sept. 22 to start his sentence, adding she would recommend an in-state minimum security men's prison.

Mr. Waldbusser spoke briefly in court to thank family and investigators who worked on the case.

"I have learned my lesson," he said.

At the start of the hearing, prosecuting attorney Don Allegro expressed frustration at what he perceived were excuses -- including depression, anxiety and struggles with self-identity -- given by the defense for Mr. Waldbusser's behavior.

"He lived a lavish lifestyle," Mr. Allegro said, citing drugs, vacations, prostitutes, basement renovations and expensive suits Mr. Waldbusser bought with swindled funds. Mr. Allegro also said authorities found $1,900 in cash under a mattress when they raided Mr. Waldbusser's home.

Mr. Waldbusser may have been a "nice guy" without prior criminal history, Mr. Allegro said. "But how much money do you have to steal before you get sent to prison -- not because you're a bad person, but to send a message?"

Mr. Allegro advocated for a nonspecific amount of prison time. He said he believed that, had Mr. Waldbusser not been caught by Wells Fargo security, the thefts would have continued.

He said Mr. Waldbusser also conspired with a bank teller to help in the scheme, but authorities chose not to prosecute the teller who no longer works at the bank.

Mr. Waldbusser's attorney, Federal Public Defender George Taseff, asked Judge Darrow not to make his client's case about going after "the Enron's and the white-collar guys." That was a fight for lawmakers, he said.

Mr. Taseff said the recent death of Robin Williams renewed a national dialog about depression faced privately by many performers. Mr. Waldbusser had been "living in a way that was destined to crash and burn. It was unstable," he said, adding his client is seeking counseling.

Mr. Taseff scrolled through a slideshow of pictures in the courtroom depicting Mr. Waldbusser in high school and local theater productions. They included a copy of a May 2011 article from The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus in which Mr. Waldbusser was interviewed about his role in a community show.

"I love creating a person that is fictional and that nobody knows," Mr. Waldbusser was quoted as saying. "I love to tell a story; that's what theater is, creating a story and telling it live."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bank officer indicted on federal charges in Oklahoma

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma Mark Green announced Wednesday that Richard Paul Geurin has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Muskogee on five charges: bank theft, embezzlement and misapplication, false entry in the books of a federally insured bank, bank fraud and forfeiture.
Geurin, who served as an officer of First Bank and Trust of Duncan’s Ardmore location, is accused of committing the crimes between Feb. 3, 2011, until on or about Feb. 24 of this year. The indictment alleges Geurin “with intent to injure and defraud the said First Bank & Trust of Duncan, Oklahoma, willfully misapplied, embezzled, abstracted, and purloined more than $1,000.00 of the moneys, funds, assets or securities entrusted to the custody or care of First Bank & Trust of Duncan, Oklahoma, in that the defendant withdrew cash from the accounts of certain bank customers and misapplied, embezzled, abstracted and purloined the funds for his own use or benefit with the intent to deceive an officer of First Bank & Trust of Duncan, Oklahoma.” In addition, the indictment accuses the longtime Ardmore resident of knowingly making “false entries in the books, reports, or statements of First Bank & Trust of Duncan, Oklahoma,” and creating “false transaction documents showing customers withdrawing cash from customer accounts, when in truth and in fact, as the defendant well knew, the withdrawals from customer accounts were by and for the benefit of the defendant.”
The charges are based on an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation which began in February. At the time, rumors circulated Geurin had been escorted from his office and was removed from his position.
Multiple attempts Wednesday to speak with Glen Jones, Carter County president of First Bank & Trust of Duncan, concerning the federal indictment against Geurin, were unsuccessful.
If convicted, Geurin faces up to 30 years in a federal prison and/or a fine of up to $1 million.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Woman uses PayPal to embezzle $50k from Dexter business

Deputies from the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a woman who they believe embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from a Dexter business over the period of 18 months.

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Geoffrey Fox said the bookkeeper from Northern Pizza Equipment Inc., 8020 Grand St., is being investigated for embezzling about $50,000. Fox said the embezzlement was reported on Feb. 12, and went on for between a year and a year and a half.

Embezzlement cases can often take a long time to investigate, due to the amount of records needed from financial institutions, and it appears this case is no different, Fox said.

The case has not been turned over to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office because investigators are still waiting for bank, PayPal and other financial records, he said.

“It looks like they have more work to do,” he said.

Fox said the woman, who is not being identified because she has not been charged, had access to Northern Pizza Equipment’s PayPal account.

She would transfer money from the business’ PayPal account into a different business account, Fox said. The woman was the owner of the unnamed business receiving the funds.

Fox declined to release more identifying information about the woman on Tuesday.

A message was left with Northern Pizza Equipment Inc. on Tuesday afternoon seeking comment for this story.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Manager who wore fake bomb to pull off bank heist gets 9 years in California

A woman who conspired with her boyfriend in 2012 to steal $565,500 from the East L.A. bank where she worked by strapping a fake bomb to herself to simulate a kidnapping was sentenced Wednesday to nine years in federal prison, federal prosecutors said.

Aurora Barrera, 33, and the ex-boyfriend, 36-year-old Reyes "Ray" Vega, were found guilty of multiple bank robbery offenses in March after a weeklong  trial. The jury found the couple guilty of conspiracy to commit bank robbery and bank robbery.

The jury also found that Vega and Barrera committed the robbery by assaulting a bank employee with a dangerous weapon -- the fake explosive.

Vega orchestrated a plan in which Barrera pretended to be kidnapped and forced to rob the Bank of America branch where she worked in September 2012.

As she acted in fear that the fake bomb might explode, Barrera took money from a safe and dumped it outside, where it was picked up by an accomplice, Richard Menchaca. Another accomplice, Bryan Perez, then took the cash, which was split among them at a hotel later that day, according to authorities.

After the heist, a Los Angeles County sheriff's bomb robot was used to pry the fake device off of Berrera.

Later, however, investigators determined she knew her supposed kidnappers and the group was eventually arrested.

Menchaca and Perez pleaded guilty and testified at the trial of Vega and Barrera.

Menchaca was sentenced Monday to five years of probation with 1,500 hours of custody time served on weekends. Perez is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 18.with 1,500 hours of custody time served on weekends.

The group has also been ordered to pay joint restitution in the amount of $557,300.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sheffield Lake, Ohio man charged with embezzling $2.9 million from Medical Mutual

Joseph F. Satava, III, age 69, was charged in a criminal information with one count of theft of embezzlement in connection with health case.

Satava embezzled approximately $2.9 million from his employer, Medical Mutual, between August 1997 and November 2013, according to the information.

Satava began working for Medical Mutual in 1971, and held the position of Manager of Credit and Collections for the past 20 years. In this capacity, he had the authority and managerial discretion to request and approve checks in amounts up to $5,000. During his tenure, Satava discovered a way to use this managerial authority to create reimbursement checks that he could then embezzle, steal, and convert, undetected, to his own personal use, according to the information.

To accomplish his embezzlement, Satava reviewed weekly printouts of the company's accounts receivable trial balance statements to identify new companies that had signed contracts for insurance coverage. The weekly printouts included the amounts submitted by each company as the first payment for the insurance coverage.  These payments were referred to as "binder payments." Each binder payment was credited to the finance division's "Binder Suspense Account." At the end of each month, each company payment was then credited to the appropriate client-specific revenue account, according to information.

During most weeks, Satava selected between two and four companies from this printout that made binder payments under $5,000 and created a reimbursement check in the exact amount of each respective customer check submitted to the company. He caused the reimbursement check to be created by completing a company check reimbursement form. On the form, Satava listed an employee of the client company as payee, and requested payment in the amount of the company's binder check. He stated on the form that insurance coverage had been denied as the reason for the requested reimbursement.

To conceal his embezzlement, Satava did not charge each reimbursement to the Binder Suspense Account. Instead, he charged the checks to an account that handled several billions of dollars of revenue each year. As such, the checks created by Satava were immaterial in amount relative to the volume of funds passing through this account, so the checks were not detected. Because the reimbursement checks were not charged against the account into which the binder payments were deposited, the coverage for each client company still went into effect, according to the information.
To negotiate the check, Satava forged the name of the payee appearing on the reimbursement check that he used without authorization. After he forged each check, he countersigned his own name beneath the forged name. Defendant used ATMs to deposit each check into his own personal bank account to avoid scrutiny from bank officials regarding the third party checks, according to the information.

Satava produced at least 1,382 reimbursement checks that he forged, countersigned, and deposited during his tenure as the manager of credit and collections, according to the information.
Satava used the embezzled funds to pay for living expenses that were otherwise beyond his means, such as furniture and other household items, his adult son's personal expenses, a car loan, travel and personal vacations and a retirement home on Lake Erie, according to the information.
If convicted, the defendant's sentence will be determined by the court after a review of factors unique to the case, including the defendant's prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Henderson County, Texas woman guilty of embezzlement

54-year-old Murchison, Texas woman has pleaded guilty to federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales.

Deborah Cornett pleaded guilty to an information charging her with embezzlement by a bank employee today before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell.

According to information presented in court, from November 2007 to May 2013, Cornett was an officer and employee of the First State Bank of Ben Wheeler. During that time, Cornett embezzled approximately $334,736.43 from bank payroll accounts, the bank Christmas Club account, certificates of deposit, and from fraudulently issued bank loans.

Cornett faces up to 30 years in federal prison at sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld.

East Providence branch manager charged with embezzling from Bank RI

An East Providence man was arrested Wednesday on charges related to the embezzling of $70,063 from the East Providence and Pawtucket branches of Bank Rhode Island, a Rhode Island State Police news release said Wednesday.
Members of the State Police Financial Crimes Unit arrested Victor N. Silva, 34, of 12 Alma St., East Providence, charging him with forgery and embezzlement by a bank officer or employee over $1,500.
The investigation was initiated by a report from Bank Rhode Island security that unauthorized withdrawals were conducted from three customer accounts while Silva was branch manager on Taunton Avenue, East Providence, and filled in as the manager at the Smithfield Avenue branch in Pawtucket. Silva is alleged to have forged withdrawal slips to make unauthorized withdrawals on customers’ accounts and used the funds to pay his mortgage and other personal expenses. The 14 transactions are from May 2013 through November 2013, the state police news release said.
Silva was arraigned in District Court, Providence, and released on his own recognizance until an Aug. 14 appearance for a prearraignment conference.

Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of Public Safety, announces that members of the State Police Financial Crimes Unit arrested an East Providence man for the alleged embezzlement of $70,063.23 from the East Providence and Pawtucket branches of the Bank Rhode Island.
On June 11, 2014, Victor N. Silva, age 34, of 12 Alma Street, East Providence, RI, was arrested and charged with Embezzlement by a Bank Officer or Employee over $1,500 and Forgery.
The investigation by the Financial Crimes Unit began after the Bank Rhode Island Security Department reported that Silva conducted several unauthorized withdrawals from three customer accounts. At the time of the withdrawals, Silva was the Branch Manager of the Bank Rhode Island branch on Taunton Avenue, East Providence and also filled in as the Manager at the Smithfield Avenue branch, Pawtucket. The allegation against Silva is that he forged withdrawal slips to make unauthorized withdrawals on the customers' accounts and used the funds to pay his mortgage and other personal expenses. The alleged transactions, fourteen in total, took place from May 2013 through November 2013.
Silva was arraigned at the Sixth Division District Court before The Honorable Associate Judge Christine S. Jabour on the above-stated charges and was released on $10,000 personal recognizance. He is scheduled to appear in Sixth Division District Court on August 14, 2014 for a pre-arraignment conference.
The penalty for a person convicted of felony embezzlement by a bank officer or employee over $1,500 is a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) or imprisonment for not more than twenty (20) years, or both. The penalty for a person convicted of felony forgery is a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years, or both

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Second woman arrested in bank fraud scheme in Florida

A second woman was arrested for her suspected involvement in a multiperson scheme to defraud a woman of more than $80,000 from her TD Bank account.

Island Dort, 28, was arrested Thursday for taking part in a scheme that started in fall 2011 where she and her friends would withdraw cash and write checks from a woman's inactive bank account, police said.

According to a Boynton Beach Police arrest report, Dort — along with three others — got access to the account through their friend, Jacqueline Dillion, 29, who was a teller at the 1601 Boynton Beach Blvd. branch.

Dort, Lisa Ollis, 38, and Jessica Cruz-Torres, 29, would go to Dillion's teller window and get money out of the account, which Dillion knew was inactive because she worked at the bank. Dort, Ollis and Cruz-Torres would each get a cut of the cash they took out, police said.

Cruz-Torres was arrested and released from the Palm Beach County Jail on Tuesday. Dort is currently in the jail in lieu of a $15,000 bail.

Dillion and Ollis remain at large.

Friday, August 8, 2014

TD Bank Teller Accused of Embezzling Money from Vermont DMV

A TD Bank Teller is accused of embezzling $1,000 from the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles.

A press release says Kelly M. Fleury, 23, of Isle LaMotte, is charged with embezzlement.

The Vermont DMV investigated the incident after learning there was a cash shortage to their bank deposit.  The deposit was made at the TD Bank office located at 111 Main Street in Burlington.

Fleury is scheduled to appear in court in August.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Former bank manager pleads guilty to embezzlement in New Jersey

Federal prosecutors say a former branch manager of a southern New Jersey bank has admitted embezzling more than $260,000.
Season Wengert of Franklinville now faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. She also will have to make full restitution.
The 32-year-old Wengert pleaded guilty Tuesday to bank embezzlement. Prosecutors say the thefts occurred between September 2007 and January 2013, but did not say what the money was used for.
Prosecutors say Wengert stole $263,864 by fraudulently conducting online computer transfers of money from 38 accounts belonging to 23 customers into accounts owned by her or her husband. She also withdrew money from customers' accounts and deposited it into her accounts.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Longtime bank employee embezzled $350,000

A former bank employee was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to serve a year in jail and make full restitution to Discover Financial Services in the amount of $350,000 for funds she embezzled from the bank during her employment.
Kimberly Y. Drummond, 47, of Middletown had worked for the bank in New Castle for nearly 20 years in a check processing role.
Sometime around November 2008, she started falsifying entries in Discover's books and records, resulting in the bank issuing duplicate checks, which she then deposited in her personal bank accounts, authorities said.
Drummond used the checks to pay her mortgage lender and purchase luxury items for herself and her family.
The embezzlement continued until August 2012 when it was found out.
During the course of the 4-year scheme, Drummond had embezzled more than $350,000 from Discover, said Kimberlynn Reeves, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Delaware.
"While defense counsel argued for a probationary sentence and the government requested a guideline sentence of 27 months, the Court's sentence sends a clear message that incarceration is appropriate in situations where individuals abuse their positions of trust within the local banking community," said U.S. Attorney Charles Oberly III.
Drummond was sentenced to 12 months and full restitution for her years-long embezzlement of the federally-insured financial institution.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Auburn, California Bank Employee Arrested In Embezzlement Case

A 34-year-old Northern California man has been arrested for investigation of embezzlement from the bank where he worked.
The Sacramento Bee reports Friday that Jesus Valenzuela was booked into Placer County jail on Thursday. Police say they received a report from Tri Counties Bank in Auburn last month claiming Valenzuela had stolen about $8,000 from the bank over a six-month period.
Police say they eventually contacted Valenzuela and allegedly obtained a confession.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bank Manager Charged With Embezzlement in Michigan

Brianna Freel of Cedarville was arrested and arraigned in the 92nd District Court of Mackinac County Wednesday, June 11, on charges of embezzling from her employer. She was charged with five felony charges, including embezzlement of more than $50,000, but less than $100,000, with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison; forgery, with a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison; use of a computer to commit a crime, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; larceny by false pretenses, $1,000 or more, but less than $20,000, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and identity theft, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison, according to Michigan State Police.

Mrs. Freel had been a loan officer and branch manager at the Cedarville branch of the U.P. State Credit Union.

The Michigan State Police began investigating the case in January 2014.

Mrs. Freel waived preliminary examination and was bound over to Circuit Court. Her arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, June 19, at 2 p.m. She is free on bond.

The Michigan State Police report that the loan officer and branch manager at the Cedarville branch of the U.P. State Credit Union has been charged with embezzlement.
Officials say that the Michigan State Police from the St. Ignace Post have been investigating several cases of embezzlement at this credit union, leading to the arrest of 40-year-old Briana Freel of Cedarville.
Freel has been charged on five felony charges:
1. Embezzlement of over $50,000, but less than $100,000 (maximum penalty of 15 years in prison)
2. Forgery (maximum penalty of 14 years in prison)
3. Use of a Computer to Commit a Crime (maximum penalty of 10 years in prison)
4. Larceny by False Pretenses $1,000 or more, but less than $20,000 (maximum penalty of five years in prison)
5. Identity Theft (maximum penalty of five years in prison)
The preliminary examination was waived, and Freel was bound over to Circuit Court. Her arraignment is scheduled for June 19 at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Buhach football coach guilty of bank embezzlement begins sentence in California

An assistant high school football coach and former loan officer this week began his 10-month sentence after pleading guilty to felony charges of grand theft by embezzlement.

Sammy C. Parker, 64, a well-known assistant football coach at Buhach Colony High School in Atwater, surrendered Tuesday at the Merced County jail. He was ordered to serve 10 months behind bars, but his jail time was converted to electronic monitoring, the Merced County District Attorney’s Office said.

Parker’s convictions stem from his career as a loan officer.

Judge Ronald W. Hansen approved the 10-month sentence, which also includes three years of probation and an order to repay all of the victims in the case, according to Merced Superior Court records.

Parker is allowed to leave his home for limited activities only, such as going to work or doctor’s appointments, according to Deputy District Attorney Walter Wall, the prosecutor in the case.

He pleaded guilty Nov. 19, 2013, to two felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement in connection with the theft of more than $13,000 from 36 victims between at least from August 2011 to January 2013 during his time as loan officer at International City Mortgage and the Mason-McDuffie Mortgage Corp. in Merced.

Parker said when reached at home Tuesday that he feels “really remorseful.”

“It was not my intention to hurt people, but unfortunately I did,” Parker said. “I’m just trying to square what I did with the people who were hurt.”

Wall said Parker will repay the victims all of what was stolen by June 24.

“He’s already repaid more than half of the restitution,” Wall said.

In exchange for Parker’s plea, prosecutors dismissed 25 additional charges, according to court records.

“With the payment of restitution and the felony convictions, I feel that justice was served in this case,” Wall said.

According to reports filed by District Attorney Investigator Anna Hazel, Parker claimed he took the money because his family was struggling financially, and felt International City Mortgage was not paying him fairly and believed they owed him the money.

Investigators said Parker asked borrowers to write $400 checks for “appraisal fees,” telling clients to leave the “payee” portion of the check blank. He promised to fill out the name himself once an appraisal company was selected, but instead put his own name on the checks and deposited them.

International City Mortgage fired Parker Jan. 24, 2013, and contacted the District Attorney’s Office, the report says.

Parker was arrested Aug. 5.

Aside from his loan officer career, Parker has been an assistant football coach at Buhach Colony High School for the past six years. Before his stint in Atwater, Parker was an assistant coach at Golden Valley High School for several years.

Parker said he plans on returning to the sidelines next season. “I hope so, at least that’s been the plan with this whole thing,” Parker said.

Head coach Kevin Navarra did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Parker said he wants to focus on “setting things right” by repaying the victims.

“Life is about making choices,” Parker said. “Unfortunately, that was a very bad choice on my part and I’m very remorseful for what took place.”

Read more here:

Credit Union Manager Cops to $175K Embezzlement in Kansas

In U.S. District Court in Topeka, Kan., former credit union manager Karolyn J. Stattelman pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft of credit union funds, admitting she embezzled $93,500.
Stattelman, 42, of Topeka, manipulated accounts at the merged $1.5 million Jayhawk FCU in Lawrence for money orders, share drafts, ATM and returned checks to conceal her theft, according to federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Topeka.
Earlier this year, because of Jayhawk FCU’s poor financial condition, the NCUA approved the cooperative’s consolidation with the $226 million Mid American Credit Union in Wichita.
The 1,092-member credit union posted a net worth of -5% as of Dec. 31, 2013, compared to a peer average of 18%, according to NCUA financial performance reports.
Last year, Jayhawk FCU reported a net loss of $260,047. Though the credit union posted a net gain of $1,692 in 2012 and $1,684 in 2011, it reported net losses to the NCUA of $68,461 in 2010 and $42,409 in 2009.
Stattelman also admitted to allowing a teller steal $81,000 from the credit union, federal prosecutors said.
The teller, Christi Marie Hout, 38, of Lawrence, pleaded guilty last week in U.S. District Court in Topeka to one count of theft of credit union funds.
In her plea, Hout admitted to writing checks on her personal account and her husband’s business account, and then posting ATM debits when there were insufficient funds in the accounts to cover the transactions, according to federal prosecutors.
Hout used credit union funds to pay personal expenses, and admitted she Stattelman was covering up the thefts, federal prosecutors said.
Sentencing hearings have yet to be scheduled for Stattelman and Hout, federal prosecutors said. They each face a maximum of 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ex Credit Union Head Charged with Embezzlement, Bank Fraud, ID Theft in Virginia

A federal grand jury sitting in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke has charged the former manager of the Lynrocten Federal Credit Union in Lynchburg (LFCU) with embezzlement, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.

In and indictment returned under seal on June 5, 2014, and unsealed today following the defendant’s initial court appearance, the grand jury has charged Linda Sue Newcomb, 62, of Madison Heights, Virginia, with one count of embezzlement of funds from a federal credit union, four counts of bank fraud, and three counts of aggravated identity theft.

In January 2014, the former head teller of LFCU, Teresa Wieringo Humphries, 58, of Madison Heights, Virginia, waived her right to be indicted and pled guilty to an information charging her with one count of embezzlement by an employee of a federal credit union.

The indictment alleges that in or about 2000, Ms. Newcomb, who was hired by the LFCU in the mid-1980s, and the former head teller at the bank, Teresa Humphries, carried out a scheme to defraud, embezzle, and steal funds from LFCU’s deposits and accounts.

It was part of the scheme that Newcomb and Humphries originated loans in the names of LFCU members without those members’ knowledge or consent. Newcomb and Humphries drafted fictitious loan documentation and approved the fictitious loans in order to make false loans look legitimate.

In addition, the indictment alleges that from on or about October 22, 2009 and continuing to on or about October 6, 2011, Newcomb entered into Loan Participation Agreements with another federal credit union. In furtherance of the loan participation scheme, Newcomb, on behalf of LFCU, sold various fraudulent loans. In order to persuade the partner credit union to enter into the Loan Participation Agreement, Newcomb made various false statements to make the loans involved appear to be authentic and legitimate.

The value of the fraudulent loans involved in the loan participation scheme was in excess of $1 million.

The indictment also alleges that Newcomb and Humphries transferred funds and wrote checks on certain LFCU members’ accounts without their knowledge or consent. At least three different accounts are alleged to have been used by the two defendants. Certain proceeds from the schemes were deposited to the LFCU bank accounts of Newcomb, Humphries, and their family members or were used by the two defendants to make “payments” to other fraudulent loans.

In order to conceal the unauthorized use of LFCU member accounts, and in furtherance of the scheme, Newcomb and Humphries altered and withheld LFCU member statements.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Lynchburg City Police Department, and the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony Giorno and Daniel Bubar are prosecuting the case for the United States.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Woman arrested for embezzlement charges in Michigan

The Iron Mountain Police Department has arrested a woman on embezzlement charges.

On June 13, Iron Mountain Police Department received a complaint from the First National Bank and Trust North Side Branch in reference to embezzlement of money. Officials investigated this claim and learned that over $10,000 had been stolen. As a result of the investigation and a review of the complaint by Dickinson County Prosecutor Lisa Richards, 67-year-old Josephine Novara of Breitung Township was arrested.

She was arrested on one count of embezzlement from a financial institution, a felony which, if convicted, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Officials say that she Novara was released on $10,000 Personal Recognizance Bond, and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in District Court on July 2 at 8:15 a.m.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Assistant Bank Branch Manager Charged with Bank Fraud

Erlanda Naranjo, 39, of Nashville, Tennessee, was charged by Information, filed yesterday, with bank fraud, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. According to the Information, while employed at a bank, the defendant submitted a false application for a business line of credit in the name of a relative. That relative neither owned a business nor authorized Naranjo to apply for credit in her name. The bank ultimately approved the application, and sustained a loss of more than $95,000, when the line of credit was charged up and not repaid.
If convicted the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison, a five-year period of supervised release, a $1,000,000 fine and a $100 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Abrams.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Credit union head from East Alton admits embezzlement

 The former president of a credit union pleaded guilty to bank fraud and admitted using his bank position to cover up his theft from a trade association, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Paul C. Smith, 54, of East Alton, began working for the Laclede Community Credit Union in November 1977 and resigned as president on June 29, 2012, prosecutors said.

He was also treasurer of a credit union trade association.

Prosecutors say Smith used the association's credit card to get cash and make purchases totaling $58,286 from 2007 to 2012, then used the bank's computers to conceal the theft and ensure that the expenses would not be incurred by the association.

Smith was indicted Nov. 20 and pleaded guilty Monday.

Greenacres woman charged in bank fraud scheme

Lisa Ollis, 38, of Greenacres, has been charged with grand theft, forgery and organized scheme to defraud. She was arrested Tuesday and released Wednesday afternoon after posting $10,000 bond.
Two other women involved have been charged.
The scheme went into motion in October 2011, according to the report. Ollis told police that she met with a man who said he knew a TD Bank employee that could “take care of (her)”.
On October 24, Ollis went to a TD Bank at 1601 W. Boynton Beach Blvd., where she was expected to cash a check and bring the man money. She withdrew $53,281 that day, according to the report. On a separate occasion, she withdrew $9,850.
According to the report, the money was stolen from a woman’s inactive account — it had gone dormant the previous September. According to the report, Islande Dort, who was arrested June 13 as a suspect in the case and posted bond that same day, deposited $200 into the account on October 20, 2011, reactivating it.
After Dort’s original deposit, a total of $87,581 was withdrawn from the victim’s account, according to the affidavit.
Jessica Cruz-Torres, a suspect in the scheme who was arrested June 10 and posted bond the same day, said that during one withdrawal, she accompanied Ollis. She was told to hand two pieces of paper to a bank employee, who in return gave her an envelope with cash and checks amounting to either $500 or $700. Cruz-Torres identified Ollis in a surveillance video of her withdrawals.