Friday, September 18, 2009

Roanoke Man Faces 30 Years, $1 Million in Fines for Embezzlement

I was shocked this week when I read that my friend had plead guilty to charges of stealing approximately $50,000 from his employer, SunTrust. Doug Powell has been a good friend to Paul and I over the years and we thought we knew him pretty well. Everyone has their secrets, most of them don't get made public.

This is one time when I will try not to pass judgement and let the court do its job. I don't know what was going on in Doug's life that caused him to do this. I was torn about whether to post this story, but this is news and the story is already out.

We wish Doug all the best in his efforts to turn his life around.

Following is the press release from the U.S. Attorney General's Office:

"A former Regional Bank Operations Manager and Assistant Vice President at SunTrust Bank who found a loophole in the bank’s safety deposit box record keeping procedure and used it to steal company monies, has pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud.

Douglas Calvin Powell Jr., 52, of Roanoke, Va., had worked for SunTrust since 1998 and supervised branches in Southwestern Virginia and the Charlottesville area. Today in District Court, he waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to a one count information charging him with bank fraud.

“The men and women who work in the banking industry are entrusted with the financial security of all of us and they must take that trust seriously,” United States Attorney Julia C. Dudley said today. “When that trust is broken and a crime is committed, it is the duty of this office to prosecute the offender.”

According to the information, during his tenure with the bank, Powell discovered that SunTrust did not keep track of refunds issued to customers for safety deposit boxes. The safe deposit box refunds were obtained for bank customers by bank employees creating general ledgers.

The ledgers were converted to official checks and given to bank customers.

Powell admitted today that he would create phony general ledgers and use them to obtain official checks made out to himself. The defendant, who was also illegally using his SunTrust Bank corporate credit card for personal purchases, would use the checks to pay off his corporate credit card balances.

In all, Powell created 242 individual, fraudulent general ledgers. All of these ledgers were created to pay the balance on his corporate credit card. Powell received more than $8,000 in cash advances from his SunTrust corporate credit card for which he was not entitled. The total loss associated with Powell’s actions is approximately $50,000.

At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000,000. A sentencing hearing for this case has been scheduled for December 7, 2009 at 1:30 p.m.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Roanoke City Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Charlene R. Day is prosecuting the case for the United States."

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