Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 11, 2013

Greenup bank teller pleads guilty

Brenda Gammon charged with embezzling more than $800,000 during an 8-year period

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND — The head teller at a Greenup County financial institution on Tuesday pleaded guilty to stealing more than $800,000 from her employer during an eight-year period.

Brenda Gammon, 41, of South Shore, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a criminal information charging her with bank embezzlement and identity theft. A criminal information carries the same weight as a grand jury indictment.

Gammon faces up to 32 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when she is sentenced April 14 by Judge David L. Bunning. The identity theft count carries a mandatory two-year term, to run consecutively with any other sentence Gammon might receive. She also must pay back the money she took, and she could also be required to serve up to six years of supervised release.

In pleading guilty, Gammon admitted she embezzled $829,600 from Home Federal Saving & Loan between June 28, 2004, and July 18, 2012, and that on at least one occasion, she used another person’s identity to do so. The crimes were federal offenses because Home Federal’s deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

During the period over which the thefts occurred, Gammon initially worked as a teller and was subsequently promoted to head teller at Home Federal’s South Shore branch.

According to court records, Gammon devised a scheme where she made applications for “share loans” at Home Federal using the identities of those who had deposits at the bank. Share loans are loans that use customers’ deposits as collateral.

“Gammon, as a teller, had access to the account information of depositors and could determine those customers who had significant deposits on and who typically did not access their funds,” her plea agreement states.

Gammon would bypass the normal loan-approval process, approve the loans herself and then have a check issued and cash it herself, according to records.

In carrying out her scheme, Gammon, on March 11, 2011, used the identity of “another known to (her) to be a real person” to obtain the sum of $100,000, documents state.

Bunning allowed Gammon to remain free on her own recognizance pending sentencing.

Any sentence Gammon might receive will be imposed after consideration of federal sentencing guidelines.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.