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Nov. 16, 2010

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(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – Constance Bexley Iwanski, the former bookkeeper for a local petroleum interest, has pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

At a hearing before Senior United States District Judge John D. Rainey late yesterday afternoon, Iwanski, 56, admitted she embezzled $659,000 from her employer during a six-year period beginning Dec. 31, 2002. Iwanski began working for the group of petroleum companies as a bookkeeper in 1980. When the group restructured following the death of its founder in 1994, Iwanski became the only employee charged with keeping track of the accounts, transferring funds from the working accounts to the investment accounts and preparing checks to cover expenses. 

During her plea hearing, Iwanski acknowledged that on more than 100 occasions between December 2002 and December 2008, she made out checks to herself without authorization, forged the signatures and deposited the fraudulent checks into a Wells Fargo bank account she controlled. Depositing the forged checks exposed the financial institution to a risk of civil liability or financial loss.  

The embezzlement was discovered in January 2009 as an audit of the accounts was conducted prior to the division of some corporate assets.  
Iwanski faces up to 30 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1 million and up to five years of supervised release. Iwanski will also be required to pay full restitution. Iwanski had been previously released on bond and was allowed to continue on that bond pending her sentencing hearing, set for Feb. 23, 2011, at 4:30 p.m.

The investigation leading to the federal charges was conducted by agents from the United States Secret Service and Corpus Christi Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr. is prosecuting the case.    


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