Appleton Man Sentenced for Bank Fraud
James L. Santelle, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on November 12, 2013, Travis A. Zielinski (age: 28) of Appleton was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison by Chief United States District Judge William C. Griesbach. Zielinski had previously entered a guilty plea to a single count of Bank Fraud.
According to the plea agreement and other documents filed with the court, Zielinski while employed as a manager at Citizen’s Bank in Green Bay, fraudulently used the bank’s computerized operating system to withdraw over $68,000 from forty-eight (48) customer accounts over a fifteen (15) month period. Zielinski admitted to bank security officials and others that he would review obituaries in order to target the accounts of recently deceased account holders. Many of the accounts targeted by Zielinski belonged to deceased, incapacitated, or otherwise vulnerable account holders.
In addition to the term of imprisonment, Zielinski was ordered to serve three years of supervised release. As one of the conditions of supervision he was ordered to pay restitution to Citizen’s Bank (now known as FirstMerit Bank) in the amount of $68,118.12.
While sentencing the defendant, Judge Griesbach noted the serious abuse of trust by Zielinski, as well as the number and nature of the accounts targeted and the amount of loss suffered by the bank.
The case was investigated by Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with Citizen Bank’s Fraud Protection Unit. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Humble.