Former Branch Manager Sentenced to Federal Prison and Ordered to Pay Over $210,000 Restitution for Bank Fraud
Thursday, July 21, 2016
El Dorado, Arkansas – Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Melinda Gwin,age 49, of Hamburg, Arkansas, was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison followed by three (3) years supervised release on one count of Bank Fraud. The Honorable Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in El Dorado. The court also ordered her to pay $210,875 in restitution to First National Bank of Crossett.
According to court records, the defendant, Melinda Gwin had been employed by First National Bank of Crossett (FNBC) from at least as early as January, 2009 through August 20, 2015, first as a teller and then as a manager of their Hamburg Branch. As part of her duties and responsibilities, she was given access to the bank vault. On August 20, 2015, an audit was conducted at the Hamburg Branch that revealed missing cash and inconsistencies. Later that day, she surrendered her keys to FNBC officials, admitted that she was responsible for the missing funds and resigned her position. Law Enforcement was notified and the Federal Bureau of Investigation began an investigation. A review of video surveillance from the bank showed her pretending to deposit funds into the vault but instead concealing cash on her person and leaving with it. Over the course of several interviews, Gwin admitted to investigators that she concealed cash on her person while in the bank vault and later used those funds for her benefit and for the benefit of members of her family. She stated that she had been doing this for approximately five (5) years predominately by taking cash in two to three thousand dollar increments while switching out ATM drawers and not entering the cash back into the vault as she should have. Gwin was indicted by a federal grand jury in September, 2015 and pleaded guilty to the charge December 1, 2015.
“The sentencing of Gwin reflects fitting punishment for an individual who abused her position of trust at the First National Bank of Crossett for personal gain and caused irreparable harm to the institution,” said Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch of the FBI Little Rock Field Office. “The FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) in the Western Division are firmly committed to helping ensure the integrity of our Nation’s banks. We value the cooperative working relationships with the USAO in the Western Division which brings about such successful outcomes.”
This case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Ben Wulff prosecuted the case for the United States.