November 18, 2014

Former Branch Manager at BBVA Compass Bank in Big Spring, Texas is Sentenced to 41 Months in Federal Prison on Bank Fraud Conviction

LUBBOCK, TX—A former Branch Manager at BBVA Compass Bank in Big Spring, Texas, (BBVA Big Spring) was sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings on a bank fraud conviction, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

Lisa Lynette Barber, 49, of Amarillo, Texas, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1,095,540 in restitution. Barber pleaded guilty in July 2014 to one count of bank fraud. Judge Cummings ordered that she surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on Decemer 19, 2014.

According to documents filed in the case, Barber was employed by BBVA Big Spring as Branch Manager from 2008 to 2012. BBVA Big Spring acquired State National Bank in 2008 where Barber had worked from 1997 to 2008. Because of her position with BBVA Big Spring, Barber had full access to customers’ bank accounts.

Barber made withdrawals from BBVA Big Spring customers’ accounts without their knowledge, authority and permission, causing an approximate $1.1 million loss to BBVA Big Spring.

Barber executed her scheme by several means. She fraudulently used customers’ names and bank account numbers to initiate debit entries and withdrawals, which acted as formal requests for cashier’s checks payable to another financial institution. Sometimes she forged BBVA Big Spring employee bank tellers’ signatures on the cashier’s checks, which were then deposited into her personal banking account held at the Big Spring Community Federal Credit Union (BSCFCU).

Acting in a supervisory capacity, Barber withdrew money from customers’ accounts through her employee tellers. She submitted fraudulent withdrawal slips to BBVA Big Spring tellers to cause them to give Barber large amounts of cashier’s checks not belonging to her. Barber informed the tellers that she was conducting business and making transfers for her customers, and the tellers did not questions the legitimacy of those transactions because they trusted Barber was conducting the transactions at the customer’s request.

Barber victimized customers with whom she had a long-standing relationship, or customers she suspected would not immediately notice the unauthorized transactions. If customers noticed an improper transaction, they reported it directly to Barber who would immediately refund their accounts with money stolen from other customers’ accounts. This response served to confirm victims’ trust in Barber.

The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Wolf prosecuted.