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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 26, 2011

Former Bank Teller Sentenced On Bank Fraud And Identity Theft

BIG STONE GAP, VIRGINIA -- A former bank teller who was convicted in May of 13 counts related to bank fraud, bank embezzlement, credit card fraud and identity theft was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Big Stone Gap.

Amber Renee Franks, 33, of Coeburn, Virginia, was indicted in October 2010 for conduct related to the defrauding of BB&T Bank and Citibank, South Dakota, N.A. In May, a jury convicted her on all thirteen counts, namely, six counts of bank fraud, four counts of embezzlement by a bank employee, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of credit card fraud. This morning, Franks was sentenced to 48 months of incarceration and ordered to pay $35,579 in restitution to her victims.

“When bank employees abuse their positions of trust, they undermine confidence in our banking system.” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “The sentencing of Ms. Franks demonstrates that theft has real consequences. The United States Attorney’s Office will use all possible resources to catch anyone who commits bank fraud, identity theft, and embezzlement.”

According to evidence presented at trial by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee, between November 2007 and January 2008, Amber Renee Franks fraudulently used two Citibank credit card accounts in the name of her adopted father and her deceased mother in order to obtain funds in excess of $4,500.

Franks forged balance transfer checks using the name of her deceased mother and made online balance transfers to pay her own credit card bills, her automobile loans, and her husband’s credit card bills. Additional evidence presented demonstrated that Franks was a part-time teller at the Coeburn, VA, BB&T branch from January 2007 to June 22, 2009. During June 2009, she conducted four cash withdrawals from the account of an elderly customer and his deceased wife. Franks drafted fraudulent documents stating that the deceased account holder had authorized the cash withdrawals that totaled $31,975. A financial investigation by the United States Secret Service determined that Franks deposited $14,650 of this money into her own bank accounts to pay off loans and that she and her husband used $5,000 of this money to purchase an automobile.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Secret Service and the Coeburn Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee is prosecuting the case for the United States.

Updated April 10, 2015