Former bank employees embezzled, staged robbery

Western State Bank Robbery

WICHITA, Kansas – Three southwest Kansas women are facing federal charges accusing them of embezzling more than $100,000 from a bank where they worked and staging a robbery to cover it up.

A fourth woman is accused of embezzling money with two of the others for more than two years after the July 24, 2010, staged robbery at Western State Bank in Ulysses.

A federal indictment unsealed Thursday charges Ulysses residents 32-year-old Amber Gutierrez, 32-year-old Hattie Wiginton and 28-year-old Ashley Cravens with two counts of embezzlement by a bank employee and one count of bank robbery. Wiginton also is charged with making a false statement to the FBI. And 59-year-old Linda Wise of Ulysses is charged with one count of embezzlement.

The women remain free and are scheduled for initial appearances July 31.

If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1,000 on the each count of theft by a bank employee; a maximum penalty of 25 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of bank robbery; and a maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of making a false statement to the FBI.

 

Charged in a federal grand jury indictment unsealed are:

  • Amber Gutierrez, 32, Ulysses, who is charged with two counts of embezzlement by a bank employee and one count of bank robbery.
  • Hattie Wiginton, 32, Ulysses, who is charged with two counts of embezzlement by a bank employee, one count of bank robbery, and one count of making a false statement to the FBI.
  • Ashley Cravens, 28, Ulysses, who is charged with two counts of embezzlement by a bank employee and one count of bank robbery.
  • Linda Wise, 59, Ulysses, who is charged with one count of embezzlement by a bank employee.

The indictment alleges:

  • From 2008 to July 24, 2010, while Gutierrez was head teller and Wiginton and Cravens were clerks, they embezzled up to $84,200 from the bank.
  • On July 24, 2010, Gutierrez, Wiginton and Cravens staged a robbery at the bank, taking an undetermined amount of cash.
  • On July 24, 2010, Wiginton made false statements to the FBI, including false claims that she did not know who robbed the bank, that there were two robbers and that one of the robbers was a male with an Hispanic accent.
  • From late 2010 to March 2013, Gutierrez, Cravens and Wise, who were still bank employees, embezzled $24,450 from the bank. They created falsified cash deposit slips and deposited funds in their personal accounts.

 

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