Criminal Justice News

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Former Bank Employee Indicted for Fraud, Bribery, Money Laundering

Actions Led to $12 Million Loss

A 44-count indictment was filed against Paulette Roberts related to a scheme that resulted in the loss of $12 million while she was employed at Fifth Third Bank, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Steven D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cleveland Field Office.

Roberts, 54, resides in Sylvania, Ohio, according to court documents.

Roberts, a loan officer and vice president at Fifth Third Bank in Toledo, falsified documents and submitted them to bank officials to obtain credit approval for large commercial loans which would have otherwise been declined, according to the indictment.

In conjunction with these loans, Roberts solicited and accepted a gratuity payment from the borrowers. She then attempted to conceal these funds by creating a fake consulting business under which she invoiced borrowers for services not performed and accepted the gratuities, according to the indictment.

Roberts ultimately spent the concealed funds to purchase two vehicles, gold coins, and other assets. As a result of defaults upon these loans, the Fifth Third Bank of Toledo, Ohio, suffered a loss of approximately $12 million, according to the indictment.

The indictment charges Roberts with one count of conspiracy to commit financial institution fraud, one count of financial institution fraud, one count of bank bribery, and 41 counts of money laundering.

“Financial crimes come in all shapes and sizes, from self-dealing to Ponzi schemes,” Dettelbach said. “In this case the defendant took advantage of her employer’s trust in an effort to enrich herself.”

“Unfortunately, for some, personal greed trumps work ethic and the law as evidenced in this case,” Anthony said. “Paulette Roberts used her banking knowledge to falsify documents and mislead the financial institution that employed her by attempting to line her own pockets. The FBI will continue to aggressively investigate financial crimes that negatively impact our federally insured banking institutions.”

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any; the defendant’s role in the offense; and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum, and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The investigating agency in this case is the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Toledo, Ohio. The case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph R. Wilson and Gene Crawford.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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