U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California
(916) 554-2700
September 2, 2015

Former Fresno Bank Manager and Her Boyfriend Arrested, Charged with Bank Fraud Conspiracy

FRESNO, CA—Former bank manager Sylvia Ochoa, 33, and Shanne Leavell, 23, both of Orange Cove, were arrested today for an embezzlement scheme that defrauded the Bank of America of over $600,000, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

A federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment on August 27, 2015, against them, charging Ochoa with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and embezzlement by a bank manager, and charging Leavell with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud.

According to court documents, Ochoa was the branch manager at Bank of America on East Tulare Street in Fresno. Between March 2013 and October 2013, Ochoa and Leavell conspired to defraud the bank. Contrary to the bank requirements, Ochoa prevented other bank employees from counting the cash in the vault. She entered the vault after hours and removed cash to spend on personal expenses. Ochoa also made fraudulent credits and transfers into accounts over which she controlled at Bank of America, including two accounts she opened in the name of her boyfriend, Leavell. Ochoa and Leavell then withdrew and spent the money Ochoa stole from the vault and fraudulently deposited into Leavell’s accounts on personal expenses and items, including the purchase of a truck, gambling at casinos, and buying expensive hand bags. In total, Ochoa and Leavell defrauded and embezzled from Bank of America over $600,000.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fresno Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Mia A. Giacomazzi is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Ochoa and Leavell face a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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