Former Bank Employee Pleads Guilty to $650,000 Bank Fraud Conspiracy
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former UMB Bank employee pleaded guilty in federal court today to embezzling more than $650,000 in a bank fraud conspiracy.
Lisa L. Taylor, 54, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to the charge contained in a June 20, 2013, federal indictment.
Taylor was employed by UMB Bank from May 2006 until October 2010 as a closing account specialist. Taylor was terminated when a corporate fraud investigation discovered she had fraudulently embezzled UMB funds. Taylor admitted today that she used her position to generate 377 fraudulent checks totaling $650,659.
In addition to Taylor, 11 friends and family members have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the bank fraud conspiracy: Kara L. Williams, 33, Shameeka N. Whitehead, 31, Rodney C. Austin, 49, Johnnie L. Coleman, 52, Roshana A. Franklin, 22, Antonio O. Malone, 25, and Ralph Broadus, 59, all of Kansas City, Mo., William D. Moore, 24, of Grandview, Mo., Stephen A. Combs, 27, and Geoffrey N. King, 30, both of Olathe, Kan., and Lakisha S. Weathers, 29, of Springfield, Mo.
As part of Taylor’s job duties at UMB she was responsible for collecting “charge off” amounts when a former customer’s account had been closed. Occasionally a deposit would come in for a closed account and be deposited to a general UMB account. Taylor was responsible for requesting a refund check to be issued from the general UMB account and sent to the former customer at their last known address. These refund checks were sent in the form of cashier checks that required approval of a bank officer. Taylor mixed in fraudulent refund check requests with these legitimate refund requests.
Over the course of the fraud scheme, which lasted virtually the entire time she worked at the bank, Taylor requested checks payable to her friends and family, who cashed or deposited the checks. They kept a portion of the proceeds and returned a portion to Taylor.
Taylor also had checks made payable to fictitious names, to which she forged the signatures and deposited into her bank account. UMB records revealed that Taylor personally negotiated 66 fraudulent UMB bank checks for a total of $96,793.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Taylor must forfeit to the United States a $650,659 money judgment. Under federal statutes, Taylor is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million and an order of restitution. 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 Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.