ALEXANDRIA, LA - October 14, 2015 - United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a Baton Rouge man pleaded guilty Tuesday to his role in a Natchitoches bank fraud scheme in which more than $305,000 was stolen.
Joe Lee Colbert Jr., 38, of Baton Rouge, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Colbert and bank branch manager Deirdre Christophe Nelson, 36, of Natchez, La., conspired to steal more than $305,000 from 2011 until July of 2014 from a Natchitoches bank. Nelson would steal cash money and issue money orders from the bank to be deposited into Colbert’s account. Nelson and bank teller Valerie K. Culpepper, 35, of Natchitoches, falsified bank records in order to hide the money that was stolen during that time period.
Colbert faces up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a $1 million fine, forfeiture and restitution. A sentencing date of January 22, 2016 was set.
Nelson pleaded guilty on September 10, 2015 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. She faces up to 30 years in prison, five years’ supervised release, a $1 million fine and restitution. A sentencing date of December 17, 2015 was set. Culpepper pleaded guilty on July 17, 2015 to one count of conspiracy to make false statements in bank records. She faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution. A sentencing date of October 23, 2015 was set.
The FBI and conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cytheria D. Jernigan is prosecuting the case.
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Louisiana
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