Former Westminster Union/PNC Bank Employee Charged with Embezzlement
Allegedly Embezzled Over $1 Million
Baltimore, Maryland - A criminal complaint has been filed charging Karen L. Baer, age 46, of Westminster, Maryland, with embezzling money from the bank where she worked, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Baer allegedly embezzled more than $1 million. She was arrested today.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, in May 1998 Baer began her employment as a teller with Union National Bank, which later was merged into Westminster Union Bank, an affiliate of Mercantile Bank (“Mercantile”), which in turn was merged into PNC in 2007. Baer worked as a teller at the branch located at 140 Village Shopping Center in Westminster, Maryland during the entire time she was employed by PNC and its predecessors. At the time of her termination on October 25, 2007, Baer was the teller supervisor of the 140 Village Shopping Center branch.
In September 2007, PNC began an audit in connection with its acquisition of Mercantile and discovered $1,050,000 in unaccounted funds. Further investigation revealed a pattern of suspect debit and credit tickets – signed by Karen Baer – posted to the “Due from Mercantile” account from the 140 Village Shopping Center branch between approximately June 2, 2004, and approximately September 2007. The “Due from Mercantile” account was used within the bank to account for cash shipments from and cash sent to the Federal Reserve. In more than three years, Baer’s running total of debits and credits to the Due From Mercantile account increased to $1,050,000. Most of the increases occurred in increments of $10,000, indicating that Baer was usually embezzling $10,000 at a time from the bank. According to the complaint and PNC records, on an almost weekly basis, Baer entered these debits and credits to make her theft difficult to detect.
According to the complaint, Baer used the money for living expenses, vacations and college tuition for her children.
Baer faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million for embezzlement. Baer is scheduled to have her initial appearance in federal district court at 3:00 p.m. today.
A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Biran, who is prosecuting the case.