Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Pharr Woman Charged with Bank Fraud
McALLEN, Texas – A former bank employee has surrendered to federal authorities following allegations she stole more than $1 million from customer accounts, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Cynthia Luna Rodriguez, 43, of Pharr, surrendered this morning and is expected to make her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan at 10:00 a.m. today.
According to the criminal complaint, filed yesterday and unsealed today, Rodriguez worked at PlainsCapital Bank in Edinburg. Following her termination, employees discovered documents at her desk including a 1099 statement belonging to one of the victims, according to the allegations. The statement had allegedly been altered with whiteout over the address and interest earned sections and new information typed over them. The new address was actually a private mailbox that Rodriguez leased, according to the charges.
The criminal complaint alleges there were multiple accounts that had the address information changed. Those accounts allegedly had a significant number of unauthorized withdrawls.
Law enforcement executed a search warrant on Rodriguez’s private mailbox, at which time they discovered multiple mailings to account holders at her private mailbox address.
Further investigation revealed a large amount of unexplained money being deposited into some of Rodriguez’s accounts, corresponding with the time of the unauthorized withdrawls from the victim accounts, according to the charges. The victim accounts allegedly belonged to individuals who interacted with Rodriguez directly when she was employed at the bank. The complaint alleges the accounts primarily belonged to elderly individuals and to individuals living out of the country whom were not likely to regularly monitor their accounts. When account holders or their representatives came in to close their statements, Rodriguez would allegedly move money from another victim’s account to backfill the account about to be closed.
A forensic audit conducted by an outside accounting firm determined that approximately $1.3 million was taken from six victim accounts over an eight-year time span, according to the charges.
If convicted, Rodriguez faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a possible $1 million fine.
The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Leonard is prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
Updated July 14, 2016