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Former bank employee pleads guilty to fraud

EAST ST. LOUIS – Cynthia L. Palmer, 45, of Alton, entered a plea of guilty to bank fraud in a scheme to defraud and embezzle from U.S. Bank, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.

Palmer faces a prison sentence of up to 30 years, a fine of up to $1,000,000, and up to five years’ supervised release after serving her sentence and mandatory restitution. Sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 15.

As part of the plea, Palmer was employed by U.S. Bank at the Bethalto Airport Branch in Bethalto, as a Universal Banker. Palmer admitted she made unauthorized debits on customer’s accounts. Palmer principally targeted older individuals to take unauthorized activity on their accounts with customers’ ages ranging from 65 to 96.

Palmer was terminated by U.S. Bank effective Dec. 12, 2013. Palmer caused a direct loss of $105,827.62.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service with the assistance of U.S. Bank. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman R. Smith.

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