A former Citibank manager residing in Delhi has been indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple charges of embezzlement.
Norma Pena, 37, was arrested Friday morning after a federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment on Thursday, charging her with embezzlement by a bank employee and criminal forfeiture.According to the indictment, Pena was an assistant branch manager at the Citibank branch in Ceres and used her position to embezzle more than $217,000 between March 2009 and February 2010. As assistant branch manager, Pena oversaw daily branch operations, operational controls, the teller line, and bank teller employees. The indictment lodged against Pena charges her with conducting a scheme of pilfering cash from deposits to her cash drawer and covering it up by phony electronic transfers. It also alleges Pena was knowingly writing checks on accounts with insufficient funds.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, Pena would receive cash and instead of placing it all of it in her cash drawer, she would keep some of it for herself. The branch accounting system would nevertheless electronically show that the cash had been placed in her cash drawer. As a result, her cash drawer contained less cash than the amount shown electronically. To hide this discrepancy, the indictment alleges Pena would make electronic transfers in the branch accounting system, purportedly from her cash drawer to the branch automatic-teller machine vault systems, without actually transferring any cash from her cash drawer to the ATM vaults. Pena would then oversee the cash counts of the ATM vaults and other cash counts at the branch, in which she would cover up the amount of cash missing, according to the prosecution.
Pena also is accused of engaging in check kiting by writing checks with insufficient funds from one financial account to cover and keep afloat insufficient checks she had written on other financial accounts.
Pena was scheduled for arraignment Friday afternoon in federal court in Fresno. If convicted of these charges, Pena faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.The case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Ceres Police Department after the embezzlement was discovered by Citibank investigators. Assistant United States Attorney Ian Garriques is prosecuting the case.To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.