Department of Justice Logo and United States Attorney's Office Header
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

June 8, 2010

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

FORMER BANK OPERATIONS SUPERVISOR SENTENCED FOR STEALING FROM BANK’S UTILITY FUNDS

(LAREDO, Texas) – Norma Vargas, 41, a former operations supervisor of International Bank of Commerce, has been sentenced to 24 months in prison for defrauding her former employer of more than $190,000 during the last two years of her employment, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Vargas pleaded guilty Feb. 9, 2010.

Convicted of fraud after pleading guilty in February 2010, Vargas was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez to 24 months in federal prison without parole to be followed by a three-year-term of supervised release. The court further ordered Vargas to pay restitution to the bank in the amount of $148,203.80. In handing down the sentence, Judge Alvarez noted that Vargas didn’t steal the money out of necessity, but rather she lived beyond her means and stole from the bank to fund her lifestyle.

IBC is a federally insured depository bank headquartered in Laredo, Texas, with branches in Texas and Oklahoma. As the operations supervisor, Vargas was responsible for overseeing the utility accounts payable of all IBC branches. The accounts included an electricity utility bills account and a phone and data utility accounts payable. Vargas took more than $190,000 from the two utility accounts by diverting funds from the bank’s accounts into her personal savings account beginning in October 2007 until the scheme was discovered in early September 2009.

Under the terms of her plea agreement, Vargas agreed to forfeit the bank’s unrecovered amount of $182,115.87. Vargas also entered into a written stipulation with the government that she would be prohibited from further participating in the affairs of any financial institution affiliated with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the agency of the federal government that insures the deposits of member banks against loss up to $100,000.

Vargas remains in custody pending her transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.

The case was investigated by agents from the United States Secret Service and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Diana Song.

    

# # #