Delhi Woman Indicted for Bank Embezzlement
Former Citibank Manager Charged with Embezzling More Than $217,000
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 19, 2010|
FRESNO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today that Norma Pena, 37, of Delhi, Calif., was arrested this morning after a federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment on November 18, 2010, charging her with embezzlement by a bank employee and criminal forfeiture. Pena will appear before United States Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Beck for arraignment today at 1:30 p.m.
According to the indictment, Pena was an assistant branch manager at the Citibank branch in Ceres and used her position to embezzle more than $217,000 between March 2009, and February 2010. As assistant branch manager, Pena oversaw daily branch operations, operational controls, the teller line, and bank teller employees.
The indictment alleges that as part of her scheme, Pena created her own teller cash drawer over which she had control. A teller cash drawer contains the cash received by a specific branch employee or teller from various bank sources such as branch customers, the branch vault, and other branch tellers. Any amounts of cash placed in a specific cash drawer are tallied by an electronic branch accounting system, which also records the total amount. When Pena would receive cash, instead of placing it in her cash drawer, she would keep some of it for herself. The branch accounting system would nevertheless electronically show that the cash had been placed in her cash drawer. As a result, her cash drawer contained less cash than the amount shown electronically. To hide this discrepancy, the Pena would make electronic transfers in the branch accounting system, purportedly from her cash drawer to the branch automatic-teller machine vault systems, without actually transferring any cash from her cash drawer to the ATM vaults. Pena would then oversee the cash counts of the ATM vaults and other cash counts at the branch, in which she would cover up the amount of cash missing. During her scheme, Pena also engaged in check kiting by writing checks with insufficient funds from one financial account to cover and keep afloat insufficient checks she had written on other financial accounts.
This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI and Ceres Police Department after the embezzlement was discovered by Citibank investigators. Assistant United States Attorney Ian Garriques is prosecuting the case.
If convicted of these charges, Pena faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.