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Feb. 19, 2009

TWO FORMER BANK EMPLOYEES SENTENCE FOR FRAUD AND EMBEZZLING MORE THAN $100 THOUSAND

(McALLEN, Texas) - Two former employees of Inter National Bank of McAllen have been sentenced for embezzling approximately $120,000 from their former employer, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

On Feb. 19, 2009, Susana Olasio Escamilla, 32, and Sandra Zarate Villalon-Zarate, 27, both formerly of Mission, Texas, were each sentenced to time served to be followed immediately by a five-year term of supervised release. In addition, each was ordered to pay back restitution totaling $120,000 to Inter National Bank of Mission. In assessing a time served sentence and ordering immediate supervised release, the court considered the fact that Escamilla and Villalon-Zarate had paid back $34,050 and $13,020, respectively. Of the $120 thousand stolen, Escamilla was held responsible for $82,500, while Villalon-Zarate was held responsible for $37,500. While the facts demonstrated they both took money while tellers at Inter National Bank, the facts also established Escamilla took the majority of the stolen money. In assessing the sentence, the court wanted to ensure both defendants remained working and in a position to pay back the bank for the money they stole.  

A two-count indictment was returned under seal on Feb. 15, 2007, and unsealed upon their arrest on Feb. 22, 2007. They both were originally charged with attempting to execute a scheme to defraud their employer and embezzlement of approximately $120,000 between January 2003 and May 2006. The women took the money for their own benefit and use from the bank vault and teller drawers of Inter National Bank.    

On April 2, 2007, each defendant pleaded guilty to embezzlement before Judge Ricardo Hinojosa. The remaining count to execute a scheme to defraud their employer was dismissed at the time of sentencing by the government. The original sentencing date of June 25, 2007, had been continued several times at their request to allow each defendant time to establish they could make restitution payments in a timely manner.

The investigation leading to the arrest and charges was conducted by FBI and the Mission Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Juan F. Alanis.

 

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