Meigs woman convicted of embezzlement from Athens bank

By Sarah Hawley -

COLUMBUS — A Racine woman has been sentenced to a prison term and home confinement after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $300,000 from a Athens area bank.

Bobbie A. Holter, 53, of Racine, pleaded guilty earlier this year to theft, embezzlement or misapplication by a bank employee in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio.

Holter was sentenced on Thursday to one year in prison with six months of home confinement to be served prior to the prison sentence. Additionally, Holter was ordered to pay $304,899.59 in restitution to The Citizens Bank ($200,000) and Travelers Insurance ($104,899.59). She was also placed on four years of supervised release.

According to court documents, Holter was employed by The Citizens Bank of Logan at its Athens locations from 2002 to 2014, serving as teller supervisor and branch manager during the later portion of that time.

The court record described Holter as a model employee until January 2013. From Jan. 22, 2013 to Jan. 31, 2014, Holter was alleged to have taken money from the ATM at the bank’s Wal-Mart branch.

The affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Mark Ranck in the case states that in January 2014 Holter brought in $20 bills stating that she had found the money in her father-in-law’s barn, exchanging the $20 bills for $50 bills at the bank. Some of that money was deposited into a daughter’s bank account the affidavit states.

On Feb. 13, 2014, a bank operations specialist discovered a discrepancy of $4,780 from the ATM at the Wal-Mart branch, leading to a surprise audit on the following day. Reports filed by Holter in her normal course of duties prior to the audit did not match the amount of bills dispensed by the ATM on various days. The ATM is supplied with $20 bills.

In reviewing video footage from one of the days a discrepancy was found, Holter can be seen coming into the bank alone nearly three hours before the branch opened. She was seen taking the cash cassette out of the ATM machine and then replacing it. Bank personnel found footage of 24 times in which this happened between Sept. 9, 2013 and Jan. 31, 2014. Holter conducted the exchanges alone, in the dark, before bank hours.

The audit found 60 cash differences between Jan. 22, 2013 and Jan. 31, 2014. All were prior to the 11:30 a.m. opening time and when Holter was the lone person present at the branch. The total differences were approximately $318,400.

In a Feb. 20, 2014, interview with bank officials, Holter initially denied taking the money before confessing to doing so. She was unable to provide a dollar amount. Further, she told officials that she was threatened and coerced into taking the money by a former supervisor, an allegation which was disproven by investigators.

After being terminated, Holter contacted the bank on Feb. 28, 2014, claiming to have found a bag of money containing $81,360 in $20 bills at the end of her driveway.

That money could be applied to the restitution order if it is ordered by the court to be forfeited. A total of $13,500.41 was paid by Holter in restitution prior to the sentencing.

Holter was terminated on Feb. 20, 2014, following the surprise audit on Feb. 14 for the same year.

By Sarah Hawley