Women sentenced in bank fraud incarcerated

Women sentenced in bank fraud incarcerated

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - Dec. 2 Update: All three of the women sentenced for conspiracy to commit bank fraud are now incarcerated.

Brenda Montgomery, 57, and Cindy Tate, 57, are both in custody at FCI Aliceville, a "low-security federal correctional institution"  in Alabama.

Peggy Sutton, 61, is being held at FCI Greenville, a medium-security federal prison in Greenville, IL.

U.S. District Court Judge Kristine G. Baker sentenced Cindy Tate of Walnut Ridge Friday to 57 months in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, the same sentence a co-conspirator, Brenda Montgomery, received.

Montgomery, Tate and Peggy Sutton of Biggers were employees of First National Bank of Lawrence County accused of stealing nearly $4-million dollars earlier this year.

In May, all three pleaded guilty to the charges.

In addition to her sentence, Montgomery, who was also given three years supervised release, and the others are responsible for paying $1.317 million in restitution to the bank.

Sutton was sentenced to 51 months in prison. She will also have to pay $1.317 million in restitution to the bank.

Sutton must report to prison within 30 days.

Prosecutors said the women, who were long-time employees, used their positions and worked together to hide the theft of money from the vault of the bank's main office in Walnut Ridge.

Tate would get advance notice of internal audits and would arrange with Montgomery or Sutton to have cash transferred temporarily to the main vault from other branches of the bank, or from other corresponding banks so that it would appear to the auditors that the amount of cash in the main vault was correct.

Once the auditors had completed their work, Tate, Sutton, or Montgomery would make sure the cash which had been temporarily moved to the vault was then returned to the other branches or the corresponding bank.

In April 2015, bank officials became suspicious of the women's behavior and arranged for a surprise cash count of the vault.

They found a shortage of cash.

A forensic audit confirmed that the three women had stolen the money, according to a news release from Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Montgomery is scheduled to report to federal prison on Nov. 14.

Region 8 News will have more information as details emerge. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for up to the minute updates.

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