Steamboat Springs Two local women were arrested Thursday on suspicion of stealing more than $900,000 from account holders at a Steamboat Springs bank.
Pamela Jean Williams, of Milner, and Terri Dawn Moody Fatka, of unincorporated Routt County, both 41, were arrested Thursday morning at Bank of the West in downtown Steamboat, where both are employed as tellers. The women are accused of stealing the funds from multiple account holders at Alpine Bank, where they previously worked.
The $900,000 amount likely will increase as the investigation continues, Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said. Thursday's arrests were the result of a six-week investigation, he said.
The women were charged with theft, a Class 3 felony, and forgery, a Class 5 felony. They could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on both charges.
Two alleged victims reported sizeable thefts from their Alpine Bank accounts to the Steamboat Springs Police Department and Routt County Sheriff's Office in mid-January, prompting the investigation. Rae said there could be additional victims, and investigators are looking into the possibility that money also was stolen from Bank of the West customers, where the women have worked for the past several months. Rae declined to comment on what led investigators to Williams and Fatka.
Alpine Bank's Glenn Davis, regional president for Routt and Eagle counties, declined to comment about the thefts Thursday. Calls to the Steamboat Springs branch of Bank of the West were not returned.
The case is being jointly investigated by the Steamboat Springs Police Department and Routt County Sheriff's Office, with assistance from an investigator with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The investigator arrived in Steamboat on Tuesday at the request of Alpine Bank, which wanted help protecting its assets, Rae said.
"In these cases, the bank ends up being the victim, because they end up reimbursing the account holders," Rae said.
Rae said the homes of Williams and Fatka were searched Thursday morning. Rae would not say whether anything related to the investigation was found.
Identity theft and fraud cases have been on the rise in Steamboat, where police investigated 59 such cases last year. While the police department has investigated recent cases of embezzlement and theft from employers, thefts by bank employees are rare, particularly of this magnitude, Rae said.
"It's good advice for everybody to keep an eye on their bank statements and to keep sure that things are in order," Rae said.
Williams and Fatka are due to appear in Routt County Court at 1 p.m. today for their advisement hearings.
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