News and Press Releases

Employee Pleads Guilty to Embezzling over $2 Million From Bank

August 8, 2005

Las Vegas, Nev. - A Las Vegas bank employee has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to embezzling over $2 million from her employer, Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

MICHELLE FOURNIER, age 38, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty Friday, August 5, 2005, before U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson to one count of embezzlement by a bank employee, a felony offense. She is scheduled to be sentenced on November 4, 2005, and faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

According to the court records, from about January 2, 2004, to March 4, 2005, FOURNIER worked as a Manager and Financial Analyst for Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), a foreign bank with branch locations in Las Vegas. As part of her responsibilities for HSBC, FOURNIER approved vendor invoices.

In pleading guilty, FOURNIER admitted that in order to make money for herself, she embezzled money from HSBC between January 2, 2004, and December 12, 2004. She did so by creating a fictitious company, RMS Business Consulting (RMS), which had no legitimate purpose and listed a UPS store mailbox as its corporate address. FOURNIER then created fictitious invoices stating that RMS had performed certain services, and submitted them to HSBC for payment. FOURNIER forged her manager's signature authorizing payment to RMS, and HSBC electronically deposited the payments into an RMS bank account or mailed the checks to RMS. FOURNIER then withdrew the funds from the bank account for her own personal use.

Using this technique, FOURNIER made 20 payments to RMS and embezzled approximately $2,013,500 from HSBC.

MICHELLE FOURNIER has agreed to forfeit approximately $762,000 in U.S. currency, miscellaneous jewelry, several vehicles, and real property in Las Vegas and Kennebunkport, Maine. She is released on a personal recognizance bond pending sentencing.

The case is being investigated by Special Agents with the United States Secret Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian J. Quarles and Russell E. Marsh.

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