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Press Release

Childersburg City Councilwoman Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud And Money Laundering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM -- A Childersburg City Councilwoman pleaded guilty today in federal court to bank fraud and laundering nearly $1 million from SouthFirst Bank in Childersburg, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Craig Caldwell, and IRS Criminal Investigation Supervisory Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot.

Federal prosecutors charged BONNY JEAN CARTER in October with the nearly $1million embezzlement from SouthFirst Bank. According to the charge and her guilty plea before Senior U.S. District Judge Inge P. Johnson, Carter, 61, worked as an account clerk at SouthFirst Bank. In that position, between October 2002 and March 2013, Carter embezzled funds held by SouthFirst Bank by converting the money to personal savings accounts. Carter recorded journal entries to transfer money from various SouthFirst Bank general ledger accounts into personal accounts held in her daughter's name. She also skimmed amounts from checks made payable to SouthFirst Bank by depositing the funds into those personal accounts. Additionally, Carter issued debit transactions from SouthFirst Bank’s operating expense account to pay personal debts she owed.

As part of a plea agreement Carter entered with the government in October, she is responsible for repaying $951,787 to SouthFirst Bank. Her sentencing is scheduled March 11.

The maximum penalty for bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and the maximum penalty for money laundering is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The U.S. Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Beardsley Mark is prosecuting.

Updated March 19, 2015