Former Craig resident sentenced for bank fraud

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Story at a glance

• Former Craig resident Patricia Cabano sentenced to 40 months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of bank fraud.

• Cabano also received five years supervised release and was ordered to pay $535,530.67 in restitution.

• Prosecutors allege Cabano defrauded the Bank of Colorado’s Craig branch of about $565,000 from 1998 to 2002.

• Accounts Cabano allegedly defrauded include the city of Craig, the Moffat County Public Trustee, Moffat County Treasurer, Northwest Title, Craig Medical Management and Colorado Northwestern Community College.

• Cabano is no longer allowed to work in the financial industry.

Patricia Cabano, a former Craig woman who pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud, was sentenced to 40 months in prison June 18 in U.S. District Court in Denver.

Cabano, 56, now of West Sacramento, Calif., was originally charged with 31 counts of bank fraud.

Prosecutors alleged Cabano defrauded the Bank of Col-

orado’s Craig branch from 1998 to 2002 of about $565,000 during her employment as head bookkeeper, and later as operations officer.

She reached a plea agreement April 4, according to court records. In exchange for her guilty plea to two counts, 29 other counts were dropped.

Cabano was also sentenced to five years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $535,530.67 in restitution.

Cabano is not allowed to work in the financial industry in the future, according to court records.

Cabano will be assigned to a prison designated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, but had not been booked into prison as of Thursday.

An indictment filed May 6, 2009 states Cabano made fraudulent money transfers from 18 different accounts ranging from $1,000 to $94,000.

Each of the counts Cabano faced carried a maximum of 30 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines.

She pleaded guilty to counts 28 and 31.

Count 28 alleged Cabano made a transfer of $2,500 from Breeze Group, Inc. to the Electronic Motor and Machine account. The next day, she took $2,000 from that account and transferred it into her husband’s account.

Count 31 alleges she transferred $45,225 from the Moffat County Affiliated account to the Breeze Group, Inc. account for $42,225 and the Electric Motor and Machine account for $3,000.

As part of her supervised release, Cabano cannot incur new credit charges or open new lines of credit without approval of a probation officer. She will also undergo testing and treatment for drug or alcohol abuse and mental health. She is also restricted from being employed in a fiduciary position without permission from the court.

According to court records, Cabano used her “knowledge of the operations of the bank and her largely unsupervised access to customers’ accounts to facilitate her fraud.”

She allegedly took money from the city of Craig, the Moffat County Public Trustee, Moffat County Treasurer, North-

west Title, Craig Medical Management and Colorado Northwestern Community College.

Cabano “abused her position by making numerous unauthorized electronic transfers by means of block entries from unsuspecting customers’ accounts” into her own accounts, accounts of customers she favored and her family’s accounts, according to court records.

She was able to avoid detection by developing “elaborate means of re-crediting those accounts before the end of their statement cycles, of concealing the unauthorized transfers and of creating and distributing false monthly statements,” according to court records.

Cabano would transfer money into accounts from which she previously took money before the monthly statement was printed.

She also included false descriptions of unauthorized

transfers, such as “telephone transfer, wire or counter deposit,” and would backdate electronic entries to avoid detection, according to court records.

Occasionally, when Cabano failed to properly conceal a fraudulent transfer, customers would bring the error to the attention of other bank employees.

The employees directed the complaints to Cabano because it was part of her job to personally handle customer inquiries and complaints, according to court records.

Cabano would agree to investigate and correct the statement, often deflecting blame from the Craig branch or stating the errors were a result of encoding or computer errors.

A full investigation into Cabano’s actions was prompted when a customer notified the Colorado Division of Banking of a discrepancy between two monthly statements.

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