Bank teller indicted on federal fraud charges

 

Date: March 22, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

New Orleans, LA — U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today the Indictment of Karen Farrell Tigler of Harvey, Louisiana, who was charged on Friday, March 19, 2021, in a twelve-count federal indictment for Bank Fraud, Making False Statements to Federal Agents, and Making and Subscribing False Tax Returns, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 1001(a)(2) and Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1) respectively. If convicted, Tigler faces a maximum term of thirty (30) years imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000,000.00 or the greater of twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person of the offense under Title 18, United States Code, Section 3571. In addition, Tigler faces a term of supervised release up to five (5) years after her release from prison.

According to today's Indictment, from January 1, 2013, to November 14, 2016, Tigler was employed as a multi-service banker with the Hancock Whitney Bank. Tigler worked at the Whitney branch, also known as the "Morgan State Branch," located at 430 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA. Client A was in her mid-80s in 2015 and 2016 and was a banking customer of Whitney. From February 9, 2015, to October 28, 2016, approximately 100 counter checks totaling approximately $349,556 were processed and debited, without permission or authorization, from Client A's account.

Tigler used her position with the bank to embezzle approximately $349,556 from Client A's account by using 100 counter checks to debit funds from Client A's account. Tigler used her position with the bank to access personal information from other legitimate banking transactions to create the fraudulent counter checks. Tigler forged the signatures of Client A and various others on the counter checks in an effort to conceal her embezzlement scheme. Tigler accessed or utilized legitimate checks drawn on Client A's account in order to prepare fraudulent counter checks. Tigler cashed 21 counter checks totaling $73,924 that were supposedly for "roofing," "market/garden work," "light fixtures/cleaning," "extras plumbing," "misc. work," "renovations," and "maintenance." Tigler cashed 79 counter checks totaling approximately $275,632 payable to another individual that were supposedly for "house," "maintenance," and for "happy birthday."

Tigler also lied to the FBI in an effort to conceal her embezzlement of funds from Client A's account. Tigler falsely claimed to the FBI to have received verbal approval from Client A to cash the counter checks. In addition, Tigler failed to report $134,429 on her 2015 tax return and $215,127 on her 2016 return. Tigler reported W-2 income from the bank of $21,290 for the tax year 2015 and $19,256 for 2016.

Tigler spread the deposits of cash of embezzled funds into her various accounts. Tigler also failed to report gambling winnings of $32,180 on her 2015 tax return. When confronted by a relative of Client A, Tigler falsely implicated another individual in an effort to conceal her embezzlement of funds from Client A's account.

"Honest and law-abiding citizens should not be victims of those who use deceit and fraud to line their pockets with other people's money," said Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey, IRS Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office. "Those individuals who allegedly engage in financial fraud should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable." IRS Criminal Investigators will continue to use their financial expertise to identify and trace illicit funds associated with these types of fraud schemes."

"Ms. Tigler's alleged abhorrent greed was evident when she purposefully used her employment to embezzle thousands of dollars from an elderly client of the bank. Individuals like Ms. Tigler who allegedly engage in fraudulent schemes will be held accountable," said Bryan Vorndran, FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge. "I would like to thank the efforts put forth by our partners at the Internal Revenue Service, and the Hancock Whitney Bank for helping the FBI disrupt fraud, especially fraud that affects our elderly population."

U.S. Attorney Evans reiterated that the Indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The U.S. Attorney's Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Hancock Whitney Bank with this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carboni.