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Elder Law of Louisville's Blog

Thursday, October 14, 2010

DOUBLE CHECK MOM/DAD'S BANK

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Gulfport, Mississippi ordered two former bank employees to serve 8 1/2 years in prison and pay more than $3.4 million in restitution for their role in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud the bank and its elderly clients.  Margaret Migues, former branch operations manager at Hancock Bank’s main branch in Ocean Springs, Mississippie and Willie Doris Burney, a former teller there, admitted to the embezzlement and offered their apologies to their families and Hancock Bank officials prior to sentencing.

The embezzlement scheme


A federal investigator first tipped off bank investigators to the embezzlement scheme after he realized $150,000 was missing from his then-73-year-old mother’s account there, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruth Morgan has said. An investigation started, and Migues immediately confessed to wrongdoing.  Migues and Burney had started stealing money around 1982 from the accounts of elderly people they’d befriended. An independent audit showed a total of $2,386,451.84 stolen from customer accounts between 1995 and July 2009, when both women were abruptly fired. There were no bank records before 1995 so the amount embezzled from the early 1980s to 1995 is still unknown. All 44 of the victims were between the ages of 71 and 102.

At some point two other unnamed co-conspirators participated in the embezzlement and apparently accepted their share of the stolen money.  Only Migues and the two other alleged co-conspirator handled the victims’ transactions, making any changes to the accounts that were needed to further conceal their dealings. In many cases, Morgan said, that would involve the transfer of money from one customer’s account to another.  Migues kept track of the embezzled money in a handwritten ledger so she’d know what the balances on the affected accounts were supposed to be, should questions arise.

What this means for you

This is a reminder to those with elderly loved ones.  Even with full capacity and function, an elderly person can easily be taken advantage of by people they trust.  Check their financial affairs, even if they do not want your assistance.  Iff they do not want a family member to check the finances, use a professional -- a CPA or elder law attorney.

Courtesy Sun Herald


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The attorneys of Elder Law of Louisville (formerly Walsh & Wilson, PLLC) assist clients in Louisville, Kentucky and surrounding counties of Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, and Bullitt. Our Office also serves Southern Indiana and the towns of New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Clarksville.



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