Tami D. Rees, 32, North Vernon, formerly of Holton, has pled guilty to embezzling $176,157.52 from the Napoleon State Bank, Napoleon, over a period of four years.
According to information from the United State Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett, Rees worked at the bank for ten years, with the embezzlement beginning about June 11, 2008.
On January 8 Rees pled guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for the embezzlement.
The sentencing took place in the United States District Court Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division with the Honorable Sarah Evans Barker presiding.
"When Hoosiers steal from Hoosiers, we all suffer," noted Hogsett. "We all must do our part to combat this culture of corruption – it weakens our economy, and harms our sense of community."
Court documents reveal that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was contacted in February of 2012 with information regarding embezzlement that had taken place at the Napoleon State Bank. Rees was identified as the alleged perpetrator by investigators.
Rees admitted that over the course of four years, she diverted bank funds to her personal bank accounts on 89 different occasions to total the huge amount taken.
The attorney general's office noted that these unauthorized payments would have been noted, but in Rees' position in the ATM department, she would use the bank's computer system to force the account into false balance. This would in turn hide her theft from bank management.
Due to the high volume of transactions that occur regularly in the ATM system, Rees was able to carry on her embezzlement scheme for quite some time.
Rees admitted to using the funds for a variety of personal purchases. She took several thousand dollars to pay off a home equity line of credit and a personal loan maintained at the Napoleon State Bank. She was stealing from the bank to pay off the loans she had with that very bank.
It was noted that Rees also made direct deposits into her personal checking accounts – again at the Napoleon State Bank.
Hogsett told The Versailles Republican that Rees will likely serve the entire 18 months she has been sentenced to serve. He noted that she can be placed in a variety of federal prisons, and that is up to the Bureau of Prisons. It could be Terre Haute in Indiana, or as far away as California, according to the attorney general. In a court document, it reads in part "that defendant (Rees) be permitted to participate in counseling and that the term of incarceration be served close to defendant's home."
According to Hogsett, Rees has been very cooperative, which could make her request to be close to home a reality if at all possible through the prison system.
Upon her release, the defendant will be very closely monitored by federal parole officers, who are tough, according to Hogsett. He said she will be subject to random home visits, employment checks, if she moves from one place to another and more. Of course, she will carry the stigma of being a convicted felon for the rest of her life.
Court documents reveal that while Rees is on supervised release, the first nine months will be on home detention. After the home detention is served, Rees is ordered to provide 24 months of community service at the rate of 12 hours each month at the direction of the United States Probation Office.
Rees was ordered to participate in counseling as directed by the United States Probation Office and pay restitution to the Napoleon State Bank in the amount of $176,157.52.
Hogsett said, "The U.S. Attorney's Office has in the last year redoubled efforts to hold accountable those who put greed and selfishness ahead of the interest of their employers and our state."
This case was the result of a collaborative investigation along with the United States Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards.