Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2012

Van Zandt County Bank Teller Sentenced for Embezzling Funds

TYLER, Texas – A 40-year-old Grand Saline, Texas woman has been sentenced to federal prison for embezzling bank funds in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Lori Smith Pickens pleaded guilty on Nov. 14, 2011, to embezzlement by a bank employee and was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis.  Pickens was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $102,135.29.

                According to information presented in court, from May 2008 to July 2010, Pickens was employed as a bank teller at the Grand Saline, Texas branch of Austin Bank.  During that time, Pickens made unauthorized cash-outs from the accounts of multiple bank customers resulting in defrauding the bank of more than $100,000.  Pickens was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 15, 2011.

           This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

            President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

            This case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Coan.

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