MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 47-year-old woman from the southwestern Minnesota community of Belview pleaded guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the customers of Minnwest Bank, in Marshall, Minnesota, where she worked. Barbara Kaye Rechtzigel pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement by a bank officer. Rechtzigel, who was charged on July 23, 2012, entered her plea before United States District Court Judge John R. Tunheim.
In her plea agreement, Rechtzigel admitted that from 1998 through June of 2012, she embezzled the money for personal use, primarily to pay off shopping debts. At the time of her termination, on June 4, 2012, Rechtzigel was the senior operations manager at the bank’s Marshall location. To carry out her scheme, Rechtzigel created false paperwork to make bank customers believe their CDs were renewed and earning interest, when, in fact, she was stealing and spending their money. The bank ultimately paid customers victimized by the scheme the value of their CDs, as reported by Rechtizigel, even though those accounts had been depleted by her. The bank paid out more than $1 million.
For her crime, Rechtzigel faces a potential maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Judge Tunheim will determine her sentence at a future hearing, not yet scheduled. This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Marshall Police Department, with assistance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Otteson.