One of two former Security National Bank employees who pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from the bank was sent to prison Friday.
Kristie K. Shover, 47, was sentenced to two years in prison during a sentencing hearing.
An investigation started by the Urbana Police Division last July found $391,000 had been stolen from Security National Bank, 828 Scioto St., dating back to 2009 when Shover and co-defendant Kristen S. Head, 35, were employed with the bank.
Head appeared in court on Feb. 6 for a sentencing hearing that was continued until Feb. 15.
At the beginning of Friday’s proceedings, Judge Nick Selvaggio stated Head’s sentencing hearing was continued as the court wanted to gather information from the prosecutor’s office about the harm the theft had on the bank and about financial resources available for Head for restitution purposes. He said he also wanted to compare Shover’s explanation of events with Head’s explanation.
During Head’s initial sentencing hearing on Monday, Talebi stated the co-defendants used their positions as bank tellers to manipulate bank records and steal money from a teller drawer. To cover up their actions, he said they would create fraudulent transactions and offset the money in the drawers with money from a vault.
On Friday, Talebi said the state recommended a community control sentence with a local term of incarceration for Shover due to her lack of prior criminal record and cooperation with law enforcement.
Talebi said Shover began working for the bank in November 2004 and her last day of employment was July 14, 2016, while Head was hired in January 2001 and her last date of employment was March 17, 2014.
Talebi added Shover worked at the Scioto Street branch for the entire duration of her employment while Head started working at the same branch in January 2002 according to information he received from the bank.
As part of their respective sentences, the co-defendants previously agreed to jointly pay restitution to the bank in the amount of $310,000.
Talebi provided the court with an update on whether retirement funds from the bank could be used toward this amount.
“While the state is aware that the defendant and co-defendant have retirement funds available to them through the bank in the form of a pension, it appears that money cannot be applied immediately toward any restitution costs that are owed,” Talebi said. “The pension plan is set up in such a way that it’s 100 percent funded by the bank and the bank has indicated to my office that neither defendant can have access to a payout until the age of 55.”
Talebi noted the bank estimated the value of the funds for Head would be between $15,000 and $20,000, but did not provide an estimate for Shover.
When Shover was given an opportunity to speak, she said she started stealing in 2008 following a divorce when she struggled with bills.
When asked about whose embezzlement came first, Shover said it occurred at the same time.
“By coincidence?” Selvaggio asked.
“I don’t remember who started it,” Shover said. “I don’t remember if she asked me first or if I asked her first.”
Shover was asked again about how the theft started and stated it was when she asked to be spotted $50 for gas. Selvaggio said the court had difficulty fathoming how the amount went from $50 to hundreds of thousands of dollars over a seven or eight year period of time.
“I don’t know based on what you’re telling me about your work as a front teller for five to six years … whether you had the financial knowledge or the accounting savvy to systematically create forged documents to pull this off,” Selvaggio said. “What this court believes based on talking to you and Miss Head is that you started stealing, she caught you, for whatever reason she caught you at a period of time when she herself was financially vulnerable and you started stealing small amounts, she started desiring larger amounts and the two of you figured out a way that you could forge these documents to carry this out.
“It worked while she was at the bank and then when she left the bank your lack of financial savviness in terms of how Miss Head did her job caused you to make the mistake that led to the detection of the offense. That’s what I believe happened – nobody’s told me that, but drawing on the length of time it took you to get promoted and the skill-set that you had as a head teller combined with Miss Head’s longevity at the bank and the skillset that she acquired and her business background and the fact that when she left nobody knew anything about what was going on yet you were continuing to steal and that you were the one that got caught.”
In imposing the sentence, Selvaggio said the court took into account the amount money that was stolen, the length of time the thefts occurred and the fact that Shover had supervisory authority at the bank and an obligation to inform the bank of her and her co-worker’s theft. He noted the court did not impose the maximum three year sentence on the aggravated theft charge because the court took into account Shover’s lack of previous criminal record, cooperation with law enforcement and the apportionment of blame for the offense.
Upon her release from prison, Shover is subject to post release control for a period of up to three years.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.