Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Former Bank Tellers Sentenced To Prison, Ordered To Pay Back $1.6 Million To The Peoples Bank In Eatonton

MACON – Two former bank tellers were sentenced today to prison and ordered to pay more than $1.6 million dollars to the institution they defrauded, announced Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Vicky Martin, 60, of Buckhead (Morgan County), and Brandy Mize, 42, of Eatonton, pled guilty in December to one count of Conspiracy to Defraud a Financial Institution. The Honorable Tillman E. “Tripp” Self sentenced Ms. Martin to 21 months imprisonment and Ms. Mize to 41 months imprisonment, five years supervised release and were ordered to pay restitution jointly and severally to The Peoples Bank in Eatonton, Georgia the entire amount stolen, $1,663,205.25. There is no parole in the federal prison system.

According to the plea agreement, Ms. Mize was the Head Teller and Ms. Martin was employed as the Assistant Head Teller at The People’s Bank. The defendants used their positions of trust starting sometime during 2012 or 2013 to embezzle and misapply bank money by transferring bank funds into their personal bank accounts or into the accounts of family members and associates. The defendants took cash from their teller drawers and, in Ms. Mize’s case, directly from the vault. The defendants also issued cashier’s checks for their benefit, all without valid checks or cash being deposited to the bank to support these transactions. The bank began their internal investigation in March 2016, following reports from colleagues regarding suspicious activity on the bank’s general ledger. The defendants were suspended on March 14, 2016. In all, $1,663,205.25 was stolen from The Peoples Bank.

“Scheming to make money by lying and defrauding others will land you in prison,” said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “It’s a top priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to protect law abiding citizens and businesses from fraud. The money these defendants stole should have been used to benefit the bank and its employees, shareholders and account holders, not to enrich Ms. Mize and Ms. Martin.  With the assistance of our law enforcement partners, we will continue to uncover these conspiracies and prosecute people who abuse their positions of trust.”

“Greed got the best of these two bank employees and this sentencing should make it clear that it wasn’t worth it,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “People in positions of trust must realize if they violate that trust the FBI and federal prosecutors will use every resource possible to make sure they are held accountable.”

"Today's sentence demonstrates the importance of holding people accountable for their crimes, especially those in positions of trust that financial institutions and customers rely on daily to ensure the safety and soundness of banks," said FDIC OIG Special Agent in Charge Kyle A. Myles. "We thank our law enforcement partners for their cooperation in bringing this case to justice.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Atlanta and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC OIG), Atlanta. Assistant United States Attorney Paul McCommon is prosecuting the case for the Government.

Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.

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