|San Jacinto News Times - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
Local pleads guilty to embezzlement
COLDSPRING – Rebecca A. Herrod, 56, of Shepherd, entered a guilty plea to embezzlement Friday afternoon in the United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. According to Assistant United States Attorney Charles Escher, Herrod, was employed by The Bank of San Jacinto County from 1999 through April 6, 2011 when she was terminated. Her last position with the bank was bookkeeping supervisor. “At least since 2008 until her April 6 termination at the bank Herrod embezzled $131,500 in funds from the accounts of several customers to her own personal bank account at the bank,” the plea agreement states. According to the plea agreement, Herrod would disguise the transfers to her account by placing into the bank’s imaging system images of checks from her federal credit union account to make it appear that the deposits into her bank account were from her own federal credit union account. To replenish the customer’s account she debited, Herrod would eventually debit another customer’s account and credit the first customer’s account, continually floating the increasing amounts of false debits. Herrod timed and offset the various false entries in a way that made her scheme difficult to detect. The Bank of San Jacinto County discovered the scheme when a bank customer called one day to complain about the repeated debits and credits on his account. Herrod usually handled such calls from bank customers and was able to use her long-standing relationships with several of the customers whose bank accounts she was debiting to circumvent questions about the false debits and credits. On the day of this particular complaint, however, Herrod was out of the office and another bank official handled the call. The bank official was able to uncover Herrod’s scheme by studying her complicated entries on the bank’s daily posting journal, security reports and item entry reports. The bank’s records showed that the false entries were made through Herrod’s operating number that allowed her to access the bank’s financial system and were made on Herrod’s computer terminal, according to the plea agreement. When the bank discovered the scheme, several customers had lost funds that ultimately ended up in Herrod’s own bank account. Losses the bank has had to pay to the affected customers include $100,258.22 to Eastex Title; $29,241.78 to Duane T. and Marvelina Pira; and $2,000 to Street Brothers Ready Mix, Inc., according to the plea agreement. Deposits in The Bank of San Jacinto County were insured at all times by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Under her agreement, Herrod agrees to pay back the $131,500. Herrod’s sentencing is set for Sept. 28, 2012 at 10:15 a.m. in the United States District Court, Houston. The statutory maximum penalty for each violation is imprisonment of not more than 30 years and a fine of not more than $1 million. Additionally, the defendant may receive a term of supervised release after imprisonment of up to five years.