News and Press Releases

Bank Associate Admits Embezzling $450,000 From Employer

June 30, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Pittsburgh, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of embezzlement, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Danielle M. Keane, 37, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge Maurice B. Cohill.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Keane was an employee of BNY Mellon in charge of administering a pension fund for McDermott, Inc., from downtown Pittsburgh. Keane was employed as a Data Entry Associate and a Trust Operations Coordinator.  BNY Mellon is a bank whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.  For a period of three years between April 30, 2007 and Aug. 1, 2010, Keane would utilize her position and access to create unauthorized checks drawn on the accounts of pensioners.  Keane would then use her knowledge of internal routing procedure to divert these checks to herself so that they wouldn't be mailed to the pensioners, and the pensioners would not know that they were issued. Keane would then endorse the checks and deposit the checks into her bank account.  Keane would also wire transfer money in the form of direct deposit from these pension accounts directly into her bank account, so that the depositing bank would not question her on the reason why the checks she was depositing were not in her name.  To conceal the fraud, Keane took the additional step of entering an "adjustment" into the pensioner's account ledger, making it look like the money that was drawn by the unauthorized check was re-credited back into the pension account, and the pensioner would be led to believe that there was more money in her account than there actually was due to Keane's theft.  These actions would cover up the payments from tax reporting documents of the pensioners, so that the pensioners would not be alerted at the end of the year (when they received their tax forms) of the excess amount taken from their accounts which Kean was stealing.  A forensic accounting has discovered that Keane fraudulently issued approximately 168 checks and 71 wire transfers totaling approximately $452,037.06 of money that was entrusted to the care and custody of BNY Mellon.

Judge Cohill scheduled sentencing on Nov. 3, 2011, at 10:00 a.m.  The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, a term of supervised release of not more than five years, or any or all of the foregoing.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

"This activity jeopardized the retirement security of workers and their families," said Mabel Capolongo, director of the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration, Philadelphia Regional Office. "We will aggressively investigate violations against employee benefit plans, including the theft or misuse of plan assets."

Pending sentencing, the court continued Keane on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney James T. Kitchen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Keane.

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