News and Press Releases

Sarah Anne Housley Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on August 24, 2011, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, SARAH ANNE HOUSLEY, a 34-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. HOUSLEY was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 12 months and 1 day

Special Assessment: $100

Restitution: $110,690.26

Supervised Release: 4 years

HOUSLEY was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea to bank embezzlement.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. Archer, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

HOUSLEY worked for the Montana Health Federal Credit Union in Billings from May 15, 2003, through June 2, 2010, when she was put on administrative leave. The last position she held was business development officer. In this position, HOUSLEY was responsible for promoting membership in the credit union, developing business, opening new accounts, issuing loans and handling teller functions as necessary.

On June 1, 2010, the CEO of Montana Health Federal Credit Union was preparing for an annual performance evaluation with HOUSLEY. The CEO noticed that HOUSLEY was having a problem keeping her personal bank account balanced. On further review it was apparent that HOUSLEY frequently transferred money from her grandparents' account at Montana Health Federal Credit Union when her funds ran low.

Based on this information, the bank conducted an audit of HOUSLEY's teller drawer during the annual review. The audit showed that HOUSLEY's teller drawer was thousands of dollars short. Additional investigation revealed that since January 30, 2008, through June 1, 2010, HOUSLEY had been transferring money from her grandparents' bank account into her own. During this time period she transferred $94,158.14 from her grandparents' account in hundreds of different transactions.

K.B. and D.B., HOUSLEY's grandparents, were subsequently contacted. They are in their early 80s. D.B. explained that she did not review monthly statements because she found them hard to understand. D.B. said that she relied on HOUSLEY to review her account activity and help her with banking matters. K.B. and D.B. were clear that they never gave HOUSLEY permission or authority to transfer any funds and signed an affidavit to that end. When learning of the theft, D.B. confronted HOUSLEY. HOUSLEY said that "we" used most of the money. D.B. and her daughter then went to visit HOUSLEY and she confessed that she had taken the money and said she was sorry and would pay it back.

HOUSLEY used the stolen money to cover her overdrafts, pay for vacations, make house payments and other various expenses.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that HOUSLEY will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, HOUSLEY does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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