Bank Employee Sentenced for Embezzling from Senior Citizens’ Accounts
DAYTON—Diane Elizabeth Niehaus, 40, of Sugarcreek Township, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to serve 60 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling from the accounts of elderly customers of the bank where she worked as a manager. She was also ordered to pay restitution to the victims of her embezzlement and to the IRS.
Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Kevin R. Cornelius, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS) announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black.
According to court documents, Niehaus managed the Union Savings Bank branch in Centerville between 2007 and 2010. Using her position with the bank, she methodically targeted and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from her elderly customers, many of whom she knew to suffer from cognitive conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
To prevent detection of her embezzlement, she used a host of deceptive tactics including creating fictitious gift letters and fraudulent powers of attorney and engaging in complicated and layered financial transactions to conceal her theft. Niehaus frequently converted the money into cashiers’ checks or official checks that she then negotiated or caused to be negotiated at USB or other locations. Niehaus illegally earned thousands of dollars through this embezzlement scheme, and she failed to report this fraudulently obtained income on her federal income tax returns.
“Ms. Niehaus has been and remains an economic danger to this community,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Tabacchi told the court. “Far from having no financial impact on her victims, this defendant’s actions have cost her former employer hundreds of thousands of dollars for which it has yet to receive complete restitution.”
Niehaus pleaded guilty on September 19, 2013, to one count each of embezzlement, money laundering, and filing a false income tax return.
Judge Black sentenced her to pay restitution to the bank, which had reimbursed the customers for their losses, and to the IRS. The exact amount will be determined in the next 90 days.
“Embezzlement and fraud cases can take time to unravel due to the complex financial transactions,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “As we often see, the victims are not only the taxpayers but also the individuals and entities who suffer the financial harm.”
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by special agents of the FBI and IRS, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Tabacchi, who is prosecuting the case. U.S. Attorney Stewart also acknowledged the cooperation of Union Savings Bank in the investigation.
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