The sentencing hearing for one of two former Security National Bank employees charged with stealing thousands of dollars from the bank will continue next week.
Kristen S. Head, 35, pleaded guilty to aggravated theft, a third degree felony, in December and appeared in court for sentencing Monday but more than an hour into the hearing, the hearing was continued to Feb. 15.
An investigation started by the Urbana Police Division last July found $391,000 was stolen from Security National Bank, 828 Scioto St., dating back to 2009 when Head and co-defendant Kristie K. Shover, 47, were employed with the bank.
Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi explained the co-defendants used their positions as bank tellers to manipulate bank records and steal money from a teller drawer. To cover up their conduct, Talebi said, they would create fraudulent transactions and offset the money in the drawers with money from a vault.
Talebi said Head was employed at the bank from January 2001 until she resigned in October 2014 while Shover was employed there from November 2004 until she was terminated in July 2016. He noted Head’s resignation was on good terms and the bank was unaware of her conduct at that point in time.
Talebi said the state recommended a community control sentence based on Head’s eventual cooperation with law enforcement, lack of criminal record and conversations with bank officials who provided insight on how the crimes affected the bank. As part of the community control recommendation, Talebi said, the state asked for jail time and community service as part of the sentence.
“This offense took place over a very long period of time over a number of years, the amount of financial loss was large and the defendant used her position of trust with the company and her relationship with the victim as a means to facilitate the commission of the offense,” Talebi said.
When given a chance to speak on her actions, a tearful Head said she was sorry for her conduct, stating her good work for the bank is now overshadowed.
During the hearing, Judge Nick Selvaggio asked Head why she stole the money and what she used it for. Head explained she had gone through a divorce in 2011 which caused her to file for bankruptcy because of personal debt and she stole because she was making bad decisions. She added that she used the money to get by.
“It was just getting by day-to-day,” Head said. “It was just supplementing income when I needed it. It may have been so I could get my nails done or get my hair done it, may have just been anything like that that I just wasn’t able to afford on the income that I was making.”
Before she considered leaving the bank, Head said spoke with Shover about coming clean about their conduct.
“She threatened that she would kill herself if I did,” Head said.
Talebi contended he did not feel Head was doing herself a service by indicating she was willing to come forward and was deterred by the threat of Shover harming herself.
“Miss Head, when confronted by law enforcement, denied knowledge of the incident and it wasn’t until Miss Shover made recorded phone calls to Miss Head that Miss Head acknowledged responsibility to Miss Shover,” Talebi said. “During those recorded phone calls Miss Shover suggested that they both come forward and admit their misconduct and Miss Head indicated that she couldn’t admit right now, she didn’t want to admit to it. Miss Head encouraged Miss Shover to take the blame on her own and to keep her name out of it, to tell law enforcement that she felt pressured to locate Miss Head.”
Attorney Brian D. Joslyn, Head’s attorney, contended while Head started working for the bank in 2001 she did not work at the Scioto Street branch until 2011. Head contended she worked at the Monument Square location before working at the Scioto Street location.
Joslyn added that a pre-sentence investigation report states Shover started to take money in 2008 and has minimized her involvement in the theft. When asked about when the bank believed the theft started, Talebi said 2008 – which is when Shover acknowledged she started embezzling funds.
“Does your investigation reveal what occurred in Shover’s life that caused her to start doing this,” Selvaggio asked.
“She indicates that going through a divorce was a contributing factor,” Talebi answered. “Got behind on bills, started off with smaller amounts and her intentions were to pay it back and she never did.”
Joslyn informed the court that Shover has made attempts to contact Head despite a court ordered no contact order.
A sentencing hearing for Shover is scheduled for Friday.
During their respective final pretrial conferences in December, both co-defendants agreed to jointly pay restitution to the bank in the amount of $310,000. Joslyn noted Head’s willingness to transfer her retirement pension towards the restitution amount but neither party knew how much money was in the pension during Monday’s hearing.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Selvaggio said he needed more time to gather information from the prosecutor’s office on the impact the theft had on the bank, what financial resources are available for restitution purposes and, because of the unique timeline of how long the theft occurred before Head arrived at the Scioto Street branch and after she resigned, he wanted to hear from Shover.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.