Bank Employee Sentenced for $213,000 Theft
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for embezzling more than $213,000 from Bank of America.
Elisha Nicole Araiza, 36, of Kansas City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to 21 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Araiza to pay $213,090 in restitution to Bank of America.
On April 5, 2016, Araiza pleaded guilty to embezzlement by a bank employee.
Araiza was employed by Bank of America on May 17, 2004, and worked as a portfolio officer 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 over a period of approximately four years.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.