Former Federal Credit Union Employee Sentenced for Bank Fraud and Filing False Tax Returns
Michael J. Moore, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that Kelly Yawn, age 32 , of Hahira, Georgia, was sentenced on March 25, 2015 by the Honorable Hugh Lawson, Senior United States District Judge, in Valdosta, to serve 41 months in prison for bank fraud and filing false tax returns. Ms. Yawn was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $628,539.34 to the fraud victims and $139,865 to the IRS as unpaid taxes on unreported income for tax years 2008 through 2011.
On January 6, 2015, Ms. Yawn entered a guilty plea to the charges in the District Court. In entering her plea, Ms. Yawn admitted that while employed by Georgia Power Valdosta Federal Credit Union (GPVFCU) between February 2008 and November 2011, she accessed the credit union’s computer system to prevent electronic transactions (ACH) and written share drafts from posting to her account. Using that scheme, Ms. Yawn was able to misdirect for her own benefit more than 900 share drafts and more than 1200 ACH transactions, totaling more than $499,000.00 which were paid from GPVFCU funds. Ms. Yawn took additional actions to cover up the transactions so that they would not be discovered by GPVFCU or outside auditors by posting fraudulent deposits to GPVFCU’s accounts.
Ms. Yawn also filed federal income tax returns for 2008 through 2011 that were false. Ms. Yawn failed to include the money she received from the scheme on her federal tax returns as income in those years.
“Ms. Yawn took advantage of the trust her employer had in her to illegally fund her family’s lifestyle over a four year period. She robbed the Credit Union just as much as if she had come in with mask and gun, and made off with more money” said United States Attorney Michael J. Moore. “Today’s prison sentence, including the sizable restitution for victim losses and unpaid taxes she now owes, ensures that Ms. Yawn will not walk away from the damage her crime has caused and sends a message to others that, in the end, theft does not pay.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “Ms. Yawn will now have plenty of time to reflect on her poor choice to steal from her own bank. Bank fraud is not a victimless crime and the FBI will continue to provide significant investigative assets toward identifying, investigating, and presenting for prosecution those individuals who would engage in such criminal activities.”
“Ms. Yawn used her position as an employee of Georgia Power Valdosta Credit Union to manipulate the financial system in order to steal income, conceal the theft and then failed to report the income on her tax return” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “This sentence is a vital element in maintaining public confidence in our legal and financial system.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Special Enforcement Program of the Internal Revenue Service. Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. McCullers prosecuted the case for the Government.
Questions concerning this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603.