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White collar crime has many faces, many victims

When most people think of white collar criminals, they imagine CEOs of major corporations, or perhaps Ponzi scheme masterminds like Bernie Madoff. But crimes of fraud and theft happen on a much smaller scale, and people of any income level can face charges.

A Milwaukee-area bank teller is accused of stealing more than $3,500 from the bank where she worked and making unauthorized transactions to customer accounts to cover up the crime. She's charged with fraud against a financial institution, which is a felony. If convicted, she could face six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The accusations surfaced after a bank customer reported missing $1,000 from his account after he made a deposit. A bank investigator traced the transaction back to the 20-year-old teller. Police say the woman told an officer that she took cash from the teller drawer and withdrew funds from customer accounts to balance the amount and cover her tracks. She said she later reversed the withdrawals so the transactions wouldn't appear on customers' bank statements.

The woman first told police that she wasn't stealing the money for personal use. According to BrookfieldNow.com, however, she later admitted to using the money to treat herself and family members.

This teller doesn't fit the classic image of a white collar criminal. She didn't wipe out people's retirement savings or bring down an entire corporation. Not even old enough to order a drink, she may not have considered the ramifications of her actions. But the felony charges against her are still very serious. She may benefit from a criminal defense attorney who can explore all the options available to her and possibly reduce the charges.

Source: BrookfieldNow.com, "Teller accused of taking money from bank accounts," Aaron Martin, Dec. 1, 2011

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