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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.