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Press Release

Bank Employee Pleads Guilty to $213,000 Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to embezzling more than $213,000 from Bank of America.


Elisha Nicole Araiza, 35, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to embezzlement by a bank employee.


Araiza was employed by Bank of America on May 17, 2004, and worked as a financial analyst in the Special Assets Group on the Small Business Accounts Team. Her duties included contacting small business borrowers to arrange payments on past due loans, and in that regard she had authority to negotiate settlements, create payment plans, and forgive portions of the debts owed.


Araiza admitted that she had been experiencing overdrafts in her personal bank account for about a year when, in July 2011, she deposited a bank customer’s money order into her own account. Thereafter, the diversion of client checks to Araiza’s personal accounts continued until March 19, 2015, at which point the embezzlement was detected by Bank of America.


Bank of America found 121 diverted loan payment checks totaling $213,090 deposited into Araiza’s personal account.


Under federal statutes, Araiza is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.

Updated April 5, 2016

Financial Fraud