Jefferson City Bank Officer Pleads Guilty to Stealing $410,000
JEFFERSON CITY, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Jefferson City, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to embezzling $410,000 from the bank where she was employed.
Katherine Nicholle Brown, 29, of Jefferson City, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth to the misappropriation of funds by a bank officer.
Brown was previously employed as the lead teller at Hawthorn Bank in Jefferson City. By pleading guilty today, Brown admitted that she embezzled $410,000 from December 2012 to Sept. 19, 2014, by taking money from the bank vault for her personal use.
Brown admitted that she began taking money from the vault when her husband had shoulder surgery in 2012 and could not work. She took the money in small amounts, and would place it in her pockets. Brown then plugged in certain amounts in the vault book to cause the vault book total to match the vault balance in the bank’s computer accounting system. Brown also admitted that, when the bank underwent an internal audit in December 2012, she made false entries into the computer system to conceal the fact that the vault did not match the computer system.
On Sept. 19, 2014, just prior to taking maternity leave, Brown prepared and shipped five bags of cash of varying denominations to the Federal Reserve Bank. She prepared and labeled the bags, which were bar-coded and tamper proof. She reported that the total amount of cash shipped to the Federal Reserve Board was $844,000; however, when the Federal Reserve Board received and counted the money, they found it to be only $434,000.
The Federal Reserve Board reported the shortage to the bank, which conducted an audit of the vault. The audit revealed that certain entries made in the vault book reflecting cash amounts sent to Columbia, Mo., and California, Mo., bank branches were $200,000 higher than the branches had actually ordered. As a result, the vault did not contain as much cash as had been reported on the bank’s computer accounting system. Auditors concluded that Brown had to report to the Federal Reserve Board that $844,000 had been shipped so that it would balance to the bank’s accounting system.
Under federal statutes, Brown is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lynn. It was investigated by the FBI.