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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Tennessee

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Waverly, Tennessee Woman Pleads Guilty to Bank Embezzlement

Sheila Burns, 47, of Waverly, Tennessee, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court, to one count of embezzling funds from FirstBank, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. During a plea hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Aleta A. Trauger, Burns acknowledged engaging in a five-year scheme to embezzle money by creating and modifying fraudulent loans.  

Burns admitted that, between 2010 and 2015, while employed as a loan assistant at FirstBank in Waverly, Tenn., she fraudulently obtained bank funds by falsifying loan documents and by originating and modifying loans, using the names of various FirstBank customers and forging their signatures on the loan documents.  In an effort to further conceal the embezzlement scheme, Burns falsified entries on FirstBank’s cashier’s check log, and originated new fraudulent loans in order to make payments due on other loans she had fraudulently obtained. Burns obtained more than $130,000 from this loan scheme and she used these funds to pay personal expenses, including to pay bills and to pay down credit card debt. 

Burns faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000 and will be ordered to pay restitution to FirstBank and to forfeit the proceeds of her offense. She will be sentenced by Judge Trauger on July 13, 2016. Burns’ sentence will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and applicable federal statutes. 

The case was investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William F. Abely.

Financial Fraud
Updated April 13, 2016