Jan. 9, 2009
FORMER BANK EXECUTIVE ASSISTANCE SENTENCED FOR EMBEZZLING FROM CUSTOMER’S ACCOUNT
(LAREDO, Texas) – Brenda Esquivel, 26, formerly employed as the executive assistant to the president of International Bank of Commerce (IBC), has been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kazen to 13 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay $62,450 in restitution, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.
On April 29, 2008, a federal grand jury indicted Esquivel on 24 counts of bank fraud stemming from a scheme Esquivel executed during her employment at IBC, a federally-insured depository bank headquartered in Laredo, with branches in Texas and Oklahoma. Esquivel pleaded guilty on June 10, 2008, pursuant to a plea agreement with the government where she agreed to pay restitution to the bank. Esquivel occupied one of two privileged positions as an executive assistant to the president of IBC Bank. She stole approximately $58,850 during a six-month period from March to September of 2007 from the checking account of a Mexican customer of the bank. Investigation disclosed that Esquivel forged the initials of her supervisors on charge tickets on more than 20 occasions to withdraw money from the customer’s account illegally. In addition to the unauthorized cash withdrawals, Esquivel was also responsible for improperly debiting another customer’s account for $30,000 to credit those funds to the checking account from which she was stealing in order to conceal and compensate for funds she withdrew illegally. IBC Bank previously provided full restitution to all depositors whose accounts were affected.
In imposing the sentence today, Judge Kazen heard from Esquivel and also from bank officials who testified about Esquivel breaching the trust of her colleagues and her employer. Judge Kazen described Esquivel’s six-month stealing spree in which she engaged in approximately 3-4 unauthorized transactions per month as “a deliberate, steady pattern of theft.” Following her 13 months in prison, Esquivel was ordered to serve five years of court supervision.
The case was investigated by special agents from the United States Secret Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Diana Song.
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