Ex-bank employee gets prison for defrauding customer accounts

From Illinois Business Journal news services

EAST ST. LOUIS – A former U.S. Bank worker in Bethalto is going to prison for raiding the accounts of customers.

Cynthia L. Palmer, 45, of Alton, was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison as a result of her conviction for 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, said late Monday.

Palmer was additionally ordered to serve two years of supervised release following her release from prison and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $105,827.62.

The conviction is the result of Palmer’s conduct while employed by U.S. Bank at the Bethalto Airport Branch in Bethalto as a “universal banker,” an employee who performs multiple tasks. Palmer made unauthorized debits on customer’s accounts and in so doing principally targeted older individuals with customers’ ages ranging from 65 to 96.

Palmer was terminated by U.S. Bank effective Dec. 12, 2013. U.S. Bank “promptly made all of the victims whole” and thereby sustained the entire loss, a release issued by Wigginton said.

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

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