News and Press Releases

Tacoma Woman Told Co-Conspirators Best Ways to Avoid Detection

July 10, 2009

KATIE TATUM, 31, of Tacoma, Washington was sentenced today to three years of supervised release for Bank Fraud. TATUM was the Assistant Manager of the Lakewood branch of Harborstone Credit Union. TATUM assisted co-conspirators with an identity theft and forged check scheme that defrauded the bank of more than $12,000. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said she “provided intelligence to thieves.” As part of her supervised release, TATUM is prohibited from working in a business involving cash and financial instruments, unless this federal felony conviction is disclosed to the employer.

According to court filings, TATUM provided a co-conspirator Taylor Stahl with information on credit union procedures to assist with his fraud. TATUM suggested which branch to use to open an account in a false identity, which documents were needed to open the account, and she gave critical advice on bank procedures. Her advice assisted Stahl’s scheme to deposit fraudulent checks and withdraw cash from the falsely inflated account before the fraud could be detected. Further, TATUM was aware that Stahl had opened an account in another person’s identity and did not inform the bank of the fraudulent activity. The scheme was detected in August 2008, when investigators linked a group with fraudulent Washington State ID cards to various bank and credit card frauds.

In asking that TATUM serve some prison time, Assistant United States Attorney Brian Werner wrote to the court that her actions were a betrayal of trust. “Ms. Tatum worked at Harborstone Credit Union for more than four years and was promoted from window teller to assistant branch manager. It was her experience and knowledge of the banking system that made her an important player in this scheme. She was trusted with the safety of the bank and its customers; she was supposed to prevent schemers like the co-defendants from defrauding her bank. Instead, Tatum facilitated the fraud,” Mr. Werner wrote to the court.

Co-conspirator Taylor Stahl is scheduled for sentencing on September 11, 2009.

The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG) and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian Werner and Vince Lombardi.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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