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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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ex-vice president of Grand Junction bank pleads guilty to theft; audit said $650,000 missing

A former vice president at a Grand Junction bank has pleaded guilty to theft and other charges after an audit determined $650,000 had been embezzled.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports ( ) 53-year-old Anna Jones entered her plea Tuesday. She faces up to 12 years in prison at her Sept. 11 sentencing hearing.

She pleaded guilty to felony theft of more than $20,000, trespassing and violating probation.

Jones supervised tellers at a branch of the Bank of Colorado. Bank officials alerted police in March 2011 after the audit determined money was missing, and Jones was arrested in November 2012.

The audit showed the embezzlement began in April 2009.

A court document said Jones had two mortgages, two vehicle loans and eight credit cards.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Kansas City woman charged with embezzling nearly $3 million, causing company to close

 A Kansas City woman is charged with embezzling nearly $3 million from a bank and a company that had to close after declaring bankruptcy.
A federal grand jury indicted 52-year-old Irene Marie Brooner on Tuesday on several counts of wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. She made her initial court appearance Tuesday.
Prosecutors say Brooner embezzled close to $2 million while working for Galvmet Inc., a sheet metal fabrication and steel service company that closed earlier this year. She also allegedly embezzled $1.1 million from a bank.
The fraud allegedly occurred for a decade. Prosecutors say Brooner used the money for personal expenses and lavish living, including remodeling and stocking a basement bar in her home, travel, jewelry and spa visits

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Former bank officer owes $45K

A former officer at a Durant bank was sentenced Tuesday to eight months of home detention after pleading guilty to embezzlement. Daniel James Abbott, 32, also must pay more than $45,000 in restitution. Abbott was an officer at Durant’s First National Bank and Trust between October 2011 and September 2013 when he took the money, according to prosecutors. The Calera resident, who pleaded guilty in May, also will be on probation for three years.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced that DANIEL JAMES ABBOTT, age 32, of Calera, Oklahoma, was sentenced to 3 years of probation, 8 months of home detention and was ordered to pay $45,524.47 in restitution for Embezzlement By Bank Officer Or Employee, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 656.
The charge arose from an investigation by the Durant Police Department and the United States Secret Service. The defendant pled guilty in March 2014.

The Information alleged that from on or about October 26, 2011 to on or about September 18, 2013, in the Eastern District of Oklahoma, the defendant, being an officer and employee of the First United Bank and Trust, Durant, Oklahoma, a bank whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, with intent to injure and defraud First United Bank and Trust, willfully misapplied and embezzled the moneys, funds and assets belonging to said bank and entrusted to the custody and care of the defendant as an officer and employee in an amount exceeding $1,000.00.

The Honorable Ronald A. White, District Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, presided over the hearing.

Assistant United States Attorney Chris Wilson represented the United States.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Former Bank Employee in Neosho County Sentenced for Embezzling More than $278,000

  A former employee of a bank in Neosho County was sentenced Monday to a year and a day in federal prison for embezzling more than $278,000 from the bank and two customers.

  U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said 42 year old Sherrie Landell of Erie pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement by a bank employee. In her plea, she admitted that from September 2007 to May 2013 she embezzled from Exchange State Bank.  Landell worked in the bank’s branch in St. Paul.   She was responsible for maintaining the bank’s general ledger account and an account designated for accounts receivable on certificates of deposit. Money she stole included interest due on certificates of deposit. She fraudulently altered the bank’s records to conceal the crime. The shortage was discovered during a bank regulatory exam and subsequent audit by an independent accounting firm in 2013.  Grissom commended the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Smith for their work on the case.

Bank in Hot Water for Allegedly Taking Part in Embezzling Scheme

A California bank is in hot water for allegedly taking part in an embezzlement scheme.

The First California Bank handled accounts of Kinde Durkee, a former campaign treasurer for several high-profile Democratic politicians.

Authorities say Durkee had been at the center of an elaborate shell game, regularly shifting money between her clients' accounts while pocketing a few million dollars.

Durkee pleaded guilty to five counts of mail fraud last year and was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison.

Officially, the bank acknowledges no wrongdoing, while agreeing to the settlement.

According to reports, that settlement is $4 million with $2 million going to the campaign account of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

 A California bank that handled the accounts of a former campaign treasurer for several high-profile Democratic politicians has agreed to pay $4 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the bank should have known the treasurer was embezzling money, attorneys for the politicians and the bank said Thursday.

The agreement reached with First California Bank includes $2 million for the campaign account of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She estimated that she had lost $4.5 million when it was revealed that her longtime treasurer, Kinde Durkee, had been carrying on an elaborate shell game in which she regularly shifted money between her clients’ accounts while she siphoned off millions of dollars.

Durkee pleaded guilty to five counts of mail fraud last year and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison. She was ordered to pay $10.5 million in restitution, even though she had few assets.

Feinstein and several other lawmakers and political committees sued First California Bank, alleging there was a “pervasive pattern of misconduct” and that the bank was at the heart of Durkee’s illegal transfers.

Joe Cotchett, who represented Feinstein, said the attorneys had evidence that bank employees knew about the fraud based on emails and other correspondence they were able to obtain.

“We finally got the hard drive from the FBI. We were able to look at that and get emails that certainly tracked the allegations we made,” he said.

Thomas Nolan, an attorney who represented First California Bank, said the bank does not acknowledge any wrongdoing but said it agreed to the settlement to avoid a costly and time-consuming lawsuit.

“The bank certainly does not admit that they were culpable, engaged in any wrongdoing, or had any knowledge of fraudulent wrongdoing,” he said in an interview.

The settlement has not yet been filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court but was presented to a judge this week, the attorney said.

Attorney Wylie Aitken, who represented clients that include Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, and Reps. Linda and Loretta Sanchez, who are sisters, said bank officials overlooked several red flags because they didn’t want to lose Durkee’s business. That included illegal transfers between federal and state campaign accounts.

“She was one of their personal customers; they were giving her favors for being one of their better depositors of monies,” he said.

Aitken said the bank continued to pay funds even when Durkee’s checks bounced.

The $4 million settlement is being distributed to candidates based on their losses. Other recipients include campaign committees for:

• State Sen. Lou Correa, $378,000.

• Former state Assemblyman Jose Solorio, who is running for state Senate, $330,000.

• Rep. Loretta Sanchez, $175,000.

• Rep. Linda Sanchez, $150,000.

• National Popular Vote, $600,000.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Former bank employee sentenced for embezzling

 A 42-year-old Neosho County woman has been sentenced to about a year in federal prison for embezzling more than $278,000 from a bank branch and two customers.

The office of U.S. Attorney for Kansas said in a release Monday that Sherrie Landell of Erie, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement by a bank employee and admitted that from September 2007 to May 2013 she embezzled from Exchange State Bank. She worked at the bank’s branch in St. Paul.

Landell’s also accused of fraudulently altering the bank’s records to conceal the crime.

The prosecutor’s office says the shortage was discovered during a bank regulatory exam and subsequent audit in 2013.

Poor Oversight Blamed for $320K Embezzlement

Due to a lack of oversight at a small Illinois credit union, two employees were able to embezzle more than $320,000 in separate incidents that spanned many years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Kimberly Kent, 53, a former manager at the $4.2 million Milledgeville Community Credit Union who also served as an elected official for a small Illinois town, was sentenced July 14 to eight months in federal prison for embezzling more than $220,000 from the credit union from 2005 to 2012, the court documents said.

In addition to prison, Kent was also sentenced to two years of supervised release and a $5,000 fine.

Kelsey Selman, 37, a former teller at the 850-member institution in Milledgeville, Ill., who admitted embezzling more than $100,000 from 2007 to 2012, was sentenced in May to two days in prison, three years of supervised release and a $4,000 fine, the documents said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott R. Paccagnini, who prosecuted both cases, stated in court that the two women, who were among three employees at the credit union, took advantage of the institution’s minimal oversight.

In an interview with CU Times, Paccagnini said one of the most unusual aspects of the cases is that both women have already repaid the credit union for money stolen.

“Both of them paid back the money as they resigned,” he said.

In addition to $231,823.15 in restitution Kent already paid to the credit union, she was ordered to pay $10,176.72 in restitution to Milledgeville Community Credit Union and $5,278.75 to Wysox Township to cover investigative costs, Paccagnini said.

The latest two cases follow a string of internal fraud allegations recently uncovered at Illinois credit unions. Other recent cases include Paul C. Smith, a former president of Laclede Community Credit Union and former treasurer of a Illinois Credit Union League chapter, who recently pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to using the chapter’s debit card for almost $60,000 in personal expenses over five years. Charles Juska, former president of the $25 million Tazewell County School Employees Credit Union in Pekin, Ill., recently pleaded not guilty to misapplying more than $500,000.

In the latest case at Milledgeville Community CU, both former employees pleaded guilty earlier this year.

In Selman’s plea agreement, the ex-teller confessed to applying fake credits to her personal account, which caused the credit union’s records to falsely reflect that her cash drawer increased by an amount to offset the deposit into her account.

In the other case, Kent, who also served as treasurer of Wysox Township, admitted in a plea agreement that she used fraudulent loans and town funds to conceal her fraud at the credit union.

Prosecutors say the contrast in sentencing is due to the extent of the crimes and the attempts to conceal the fraud.
Although Kent and Selman stole the money for personal use, Kent went to great lengths to conceal her crime and may have purposely covered up Selman’s fraud, the documents said.

To conceal her own fraud, Kent created fictitious loans and certificates of deposits using names of family members, the documents said.

After being elected treasurer of Wycox Township in 2009, Kent began using the town’s accounts at the credit union to cover her embezzlement, the plea agreement said.

For almost two years, she moved money into and out of Wysox Township’s accounts at the credit union, transferring a total of $175,000 from a township account to cover up her credit union fraud, the court records said.

After it became clear that the credit union would uncover her illegal activity, Kent resigned and provided information to the auditor.

Both women faced a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment, up to five years of supervised release and up to $1 million each in fines.

During the sentencing hearing for Kent, an attorney representing the former manager requested a lighter sentence due to Kent’s “good character, cooperation, payment of restitution in full prior to criminal charges being commenced and her psychological diagnosis,” the court documents said.

A doctor who testified at Kent’s sentencing said the former manager embezzled because she believed it was a family need and want, which stems from her family history, and that she would pay back the funds, the court documents said.

However, Kent and her defense team did not explain how someone with a diminished capacity could go to such great lengths to conceal their crime, the documents said.

In response, prosecutors cautioned the court to not overlook the fact that defendant committed the crimes over the course of many years.

Prosecutors said the sentencing needed to reflect the seriousness of the crime, promote

respect for the  law, provide just punishment for the offense and deter criminal conduct by others.

Although defendants may be entitled to lower sentences if they have a significantly impaired ability that causes lack of restraint to control wrongful behavior, there must be a link between the defendant’s diminished capacity and the commission of the offense to warrant a lower sentence, prosecutors said.

“While defendant characterizes herself as law abiding, she fails to account for the more than six years of her life that included the day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month taking of monies from the credit union,” prosecutors stated in the court documents. “As a supervisor with no oversight, defendant’s actions went unchecked and the government has little doubt that but for the other employee’s embezzlement, defendant’s embezzlement would be ongoing to this day.”

Unlike Selman, who stole from her teller drawer and did not conceal her illegal activity, Kent created fictitious loans and certificates of deposit, and used other accounts and her position as an elected official and credit union manager to move money in order to hide her illegal activity.

“Such actions do not evidence someone operating with a diminished capacity,” prosecutors stated.                                              

“The government also notes that it is likely defendant knew of the other employee’s embezzlement and did nothing to avoid scrutiny on the credit union that would possibly reveal her own embezzlement,” the documents said. “The credit union’s system at times identified such large amounts of supposed cash on hand in the other employee’s teller drawer that defendant would have to have noticed.”

At one point, Kent electronically lowered Selman’s cash drawer amount, the documents aid.

In addition, Kent wrote the letter of resignation for Selman, which the former teller copied word for word, the documents stated.

During Kent’s sentencing, prosecutors also shot down another attempt for sympathy and leniency.

“The government has no doubt that defendant’s crime has brought unwanted community attention to her family and that her imprisonment will have an adverse impact on her family,” the court documents said. “An adverse impact on family is, sadly, a natural consequence of an individual’s decision to engage in criminal activity. When an individual is incarcerated, it is expected that his family life will suffer.”

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Milledgeville Community Credit Union embezzlement brings 8-month term

A former manager of Milledgeville Community Credit Union, also a former Wysox Township treasurer, was sentenced to 8 months in federal prison for embezzlement and ordered to pay more than $15,000 in restitution.

Kim Kent, 53, pleaded guilty in February to embezzling $219,600 from October 2005 to February 2012. She also must pay a $5,000 fine, and serve 2 years of supervised release, the first 6 months on home confinement, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Rockford.

Kent must pay the credit union $10,176.72 and the township $5,278.75. She already has paid $231,823.15 in restitution, the release said.

To conceal her embezzlement, Kent created fictitious loans using names of family members and fictitious certificates of deposit. After she was elected treasurer of the Milledgeville-based township in 2009, she used money from the township's credit union account to cover her embezzlement.

In February, Kelsey Selman, 37, a former teller at the credit union, also pleaded guilty to embezzlement.

She was sentenced in May to 2 days in prison and fined $4,000, on top of the $100,975.74 in restitution that she paid to the credit union shortly after she was fired, court documents say.

Selman used the credit union's computer system to apply credits to her personal account, and so its records falsely showed that the money in her cash drawer increased by an amount to cover the fake deposits.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Two Former Bank Employees Sentenced For Embezzlement, Staged Robbery

Two former bank employees sentenced to five months in federal prison for embezzling and staging a robbery to cover up the theft.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Thursday that 32 year old Amber Gutierrez and 29 year old Ashley Cravens, both from Ulysses, each pleaded guilty for embezzling about $84,000 over 2 years from the Western State Bank in Ulysses.
In July 2010 the women took part in a staged robbery, and continued to embezzle another $24,500 from the bank. In addition to five months in prison, the women will have to spend five months in a halfway house.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ex-teller admits stealing $2M from Illinois bank

 A central Illinois woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $2 million from the bank where she worked as head teller.

Sixty-two-year-old Nancy J. Huskins of Lincoln pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of bank embezzlement in federal court in Springfield.

Huskins worked at the State Bank of Lincoln from 1996 until November of last year.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in central Illinois says she admitted stealing the money over that period and using it for her personal spending.

As head teller, Huskins had access to the bank's vault.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, she concealed the theft by manipulating audits.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 10.

Huskins faces up to 30 years in prison and could be ordered to pay full restitution.

A Lincoln woman pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to embezzling nearly $2 million from the bank where she was employed.
Nancy J. Huskins, 62, pleaded guilty to a single count of bank embezzlement before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Schanzle-Haskins in Springfield.
Huskins, the former head teller at State Bank of Lincoln, admitted that from Jan. 1, 1996, to Nov. 4, 2013, she embezzled approximately $1,982,685 for her personal use.
In her position as head teller, she had access to the bank's vaults and was entrusted with significant access to portions of the vault where large amounts of cash were held.
Huskins admitted during her court appearance and in court documents that she disguised the embezzlement by personally participating in audits of cash amounts, representing that a certain bag contained an amount of currency when she knew the bag contained no currency, just other empty currency bags.
The investigation was conducted by agents of the FBI with full cooperation from State Bank of Lincoln. The case is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorney John Childress.
Huskins' attorney, Daniel Noll of Springfield, said he couldn't discuss any reasons for his client’s embezzlement.
"She has been cooperating with authorities and looks to put this matter behind her," Noll said.
Huskins currently is on bond awaiting sentencing. She faces a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in prison when she is sentenced Nov. 10 by U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough. She’ll also be ordered to pay restitution.
"This was a very unfortunate situation for everyone, including the family of our former employee," said Steve Aughenbaugh, president and CEO of State Bank of Lincoln. "Despite the wrongdoing, there has been no misuse of customer accounts, so customers can rest assured their deposits are safe and accounted for."
Aughenbaugh said all employees of the bank are bonded "in an amount considerably in excess of this embezzlement."

Victims startled by $10.5 million embezzlement scheme at Jacksonville's Fifth Third Bank

A Jacksonville woman whose family lost and then got back nearly $6 million embezzled from their account at a Jacksonville bank remains bitter nearly a year after the crime was discovered.
“Hell, yes,” said the woman, 66, about her feelings of anger. “My husband has worked six days a week for his whole life since he was 14 and here he’s taking care of our family and finally decided he could retire and this guy steals all of his money.”

The guy, prosecutors said, is ex-Fifth Third Bank vice president and private banker Christopher David Boston, who is set to appear in federal court in Jacksonville Wednesday afternoon to enter a plea of guilty to bank fraud in the theft of $10.5 million from the bank’s north Mandarin branch.

Court records show Boston, 40, has already signed a plea agreement and faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. He has not been arrested, but Wednesday’s hearing is scheduled to serve as an initial appearance where bail could be set.

Boston is accused of operating a bank fraud scheme that included stealing $10.5 million from at least one corporate account and transferring money from at least two individual accounts to cover the original thefts. The embezzlement occurred over 3 1/2 years ending in April 2013.

Court records show that 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.

Prosecutors said Boston used the rest of the 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 could not be reached to comment and his defense attorney, former State Attorney Harry Shorstein, has declined to comment, as have prosecutors.

The woman is the first victim of the scheme to speak publicly about the theft, which she said involved money her husband made by selling his family manufacturing business early last year. The victim and her husband are well-known in the community for their philanthropy. She asked that she not be identified for her protection because of the amount of money taken and returned.

The woman said she and her husband first learned about the trouble when they went to the bank near closing time one day last April to have a statement notarized for a real estate deal. A bank official — not Boston, who worked closely with the husband — said he noticed some unusual activity in their account from the previous night.

The couple saw on a computer screen that all but $120,000 of their $6 million had been transferred out of the account.

“My husband kind of turned white,” the woman said. “I figured they made a mistake and put it somewhere and they would put it back.”

She said the bank official didn’t have an immediate explanation but assured the couple not to worry. She said the man and others at the bank scrambled for answers while the couple waited. She said Boston called, apparently in response to a call from the bank to him, and he talked by speaker to the official who broke the news.

“He [the official] let him know we were in there,” the woman said. “He [Boston] said, ‘Well, I’m out sick.’ ”

She said the conversation ended abruptly and bank officials told the couple they would try to get answers the next day. She said an executive with the bank’s corporate office in Cincinnati made arrangements to meet with her husband. She said the executive told her husband about the embezzlement and that multiple individual accounts were affected.

The bank put the money back in their account within a few days and officials pleaded with them to keep it there. But the couple was concerned that the scheme had gone on for so long and her husband decided to move most of the money elsewhere after having banked there for 15 years.

“It was a stake through our heart,” the woman said. “How could you trust somebody that did that to you?”

The woman said she still doesn’t understand how most of the stolen money was used to help other customers, as prosecutors have said.

“This was not Robin Hood taking from the rich and giving to the poor,” she said. “He was about to make us suicidal.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Judge in bank embezzlement case recuses himself

A judge has recused himself from the case of a local banker charged with embezzling millions of dollars.
The judge said he had a conflict.

Federal prosecutors accused Christopher Boston, a former vice president at the Fifth Third Bank in Mandarin, Florida of embezzling more than $10.5 million from accounts and using the cash to fund loans for bank customers previously denied loans.

Boston faced up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

In March, Boston signed off on a plea deal with the state.  If approved by the new judge, Boston would pay $2.2 million in fines and forfeit his assets, but see no jail time for pleading guilty to bank fraud.