Former Head Teller Pleads Guilty to Aiding and Abetting Bank Larceny
Greenbelt, Maryland - Elizabeth Tarke, age 41, of Olney, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to aiding and abetting bank larceny in connection with the theft of $574,500 from BB&T Bank on January 9, 2008, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the plea agreement, from 2006 to January 2008, Elizabeth Tarke was the head bank teller at the Wheaton branch of Branch Banking &Trust Company (“BB&T”). Among her duties, she was responsible for preparing the bank’s cash deposits to picked up by AT Systems, the armored car contractor for BB&T.
On November 25, 2007, an unknown individual walked over to Tarke’s nine-year-old daughter while she was playing near their home in Olney, Maryland and pointed a silver handgun at her head and told her not to move. Tarke’s daughter ran to a neighbor’s house for help. In mid-December 2007, Tarke’s former boyfriend came to Tarke’s home and showed Tarke a typewritten letter that claimed responsibility for some of the unexplained events concerning her house and her family, including the pointing of a gun at her daughter’s head. The letter further advised that the persons responsible were planning to rob the bank where she worked and if she did not cooperate things would get worse for her and her family. The letter further advised that the robbery would take place in January 2008.
On January 9, 2008, Tarke prepared the bank’s money deposits for pickup by the armored car courier and placed the bags in the vault. Tarke typically did not prepare the bags so early in the day. At around 11:00 a.m., an individual posing as an AT Systems security guard entered the bank, escorted into the bank’s vault by another BB&T employee. Tarke recognized that this was not the regular AT Systems courier and that he had arrived several hours earlier than when the courier typically came. Tarke also noticed that the individual’s hands were shaking when he signed his name on the sign-in log book. However, Tarke did not attempt to verify that the courier was an AT Systems employee, nor speak out or resist as the AT Systems imposter put $574,500 of the bank’s money into a black duffle bag and walked out of the bank.
When Tarke was interviewed by a Montgomery County Police officer on January 10, 2008, she falsely stated that she did not know anything about the theft of the bank’s money, nor did she tell the police about the letter she was shown a few weeks earlier where she learned that a bank larceny of her bank branch was planned for January 2008.
Tarke faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus has scheduled sentencing for February 20, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Montgomery County Police Department for their investigative work and expressed appreciation to Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy and his office for their assistance. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Bryan Foreman and William D. Moomau, who are prosecuting the case.