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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Austin woman charged with theft of over $28K from personal bank account

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Austin woman charged with theft of over $28K from personal bank account

Allegedly caught on video making withdrawals

An Austin woman accused of stealing $ 28,600 from a personal bank account while working as a bank teller made her first appearance on Thursday in Mower County District Court.

Bonnie Ann Kilpatrick, 48, has been charged with felony theft by swindle, felony theft – take/use/transfer movable property without consent, felony identity theft – transfers/possesses/uses identity of another person, and felony aggravated forgery. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The criminal complaint states that a woman reached out to law enforcement on April 8 regarding a theft of $ 28,600 from her mother’s First Farmers & Merchants Bank account. She and her mother reviewed bank statements and found 15 withdrawals over the past year that had not been made by the victim. Each withdrawal, she said, was in excess of the typical amount the victim withdrew. She also said the victim rarely left home after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

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The woman said she initially contacted the bank and that an employee, later identified as Kilpatrick, provided multiple documents including copies of withdrawal slips purportedly showing in-person cash withdrawals being made by the victim. Upon review of the withdrawal slips, she determined that several of them did not match the victim’s signature and that several withdrawal slips appeared to have been forged from other slips as they matched up perfectly when placed on top of one another with only the dates and amounts altered. 

She then spoke to the bank president, who said that the bank would investigate. She indicated she was later contacted by the bank president, who accused her of the theft and threatened “federal charges” against her for fraud. The accusation prompted her and the victim to contact law enforcement.

A detective met with the bank president, who confirmed she had spoken to the victim’s daughter about the withdrawals. She explained that she investigated the allegations and spoke to Kilpatrick, as well as another bank employee. After her investigation, she said that she believed the victim’s daughter was attempting to commit fraud against the bank. 

The detective met with the victim, who said she received her bank statement a couple of months ago and saw several withdrawals that she did not recognize. She also said that the last time she went to the bank was before January 2021. She said her daughter showed her the documents she had obtained from the bank, and that her signature did not appear on the withdrawal slips. She confirmed that she was the only person authorized on the account until she recently added her daughter to assist in investigating the theft. 

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The victim’s daughter informed the detective that the victim only made a couple of cash withdrawals from the account per year and the last withdrawal she could account for occurred on Feb. 20, 2020. She told bank employees the victim had not been at the bank on the days of the thefts. She also pointed out that several withdrawal slips were traced with slight changes to the dates and amounts and that some contained inconsistencies in the victim’s signature, including the misspelling of her last name on one and the addition of her middle initial in another.

The bank president later reported that she ran full audit logs for every day there was a withdrawal from the victim’s account. She noted on seven different dates, Kilpatrick viewed historical data and/or printed at least one document from the account. She said that the first incident was on Feb. 20, 2020, which was the last time the victim said she was in the bank to make a withdrawal. On that day, the logs showed that Kilpatrick viewed the signature card on the account. 

The bank president confirmed that the logs show that Kilpatrick then reviewed the victim’s account on the following dates: 

  • March 16, 2020; 
  • March 25, 2020; 
  • Sept. 28, 2020; 
  • Nov. 25, 2020; 
  • Jan. 7, 2021; and 
  • Feb. 1, 2021. 

She stated that on those dates, Kilpatrick viewed at least one image of a past transaction on the account and that on each of the dates, Kilpatrick also printed at least one of the images.

She then provided the detective with video from Nov. 25, 2020, Jan. 7, 2021, and Jan. 20, 2021, dates that unauthorized cash withdrawals were made from the account. She also printed the daily journal for each of those dates, which provided a list of all transactions a teller completes, including the time of each transaction. She said she reviewed the video and observed Kilpatrick complete the withdrawal transactions on the account. She also confirmed the victim was not in the bank on any of the dates. 

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She then said she spoke to Kilpatrick about the theft. She informed Kilpatrick about the audit logs that showed her printing old transactions from the account on the days the unauthorized withdrawals were made. Kilpatrick said she did not remember why she printed the items. When informed that there was video showing her completing the withdrawals on the account without the victim’s presence at the bank, Kilpatrick was surprised, but was very calm and did not get upset. Kilpatrick denied altering or creating any documents and denied taking money from the bank or from any customer. 

The detective reviewed the security footage from Jan. 7 and saw Kilpatrick walk to a printer, remove a piece of paper, and take it back to her work station. The footage aligned with the audit log for the time she would have printed out the historical transaction from the victim’s account. Kilpatrick was then seen taking a withdrawal slip and placing it on top of the paper she took from the printer. During this time, other employees approached Kilpatrick’s workstation and she was seen concealing what she was doing. Once she was alone, the video showed Kilpatrick completing the withdrawal from the account and scanning the slip she was writing on. 

A review of the footage from Jan. 20 showed Kilpatrick running a withdrawal on the victim’s account. Footage from Nov. 25 showed Kilpatrick removing a piece of paper from the printer (which was consistent with the audit logs) before going into a small storage room adjacent to the teller line and writing on something. About 45 minutes later, Kilpatrick ran a transaction, using the slip she was seen bringing out of the storage room. She then ripped up the piece of paper she had in the storage room and threw it in what appeared to be a shred bin.

At no time during any of the videos was the victim seen in the bank or drive-up area. 

The detective met with Kilpatrick, who confirmed she had been employed at First Farmers & Merchants Bank before accepting a job at another bank and that she knew the victim was a First Farmers & Merchants Bank customer. The detective explained that there were 15 withdrawals from the victim’s account that were not authorized, were not done by the victim, and that the victim had not withdrawn cash from her account since February 2020. He informed Kilpatrickthat she was the only person to initial the withdrawals slips from the account in the past year. He pointed out that Kilpatrick completed a withdrawal on the account on Nov. 25 and that video of that day showed the victim was never at the bank. 

Kilpatrick was unable to explain why that would be and initially denied taking any money. When told what was seen on the videos, Kilpatrick said she did not recall and was on medication that affected her memory. When asked about printing out the historical transaction to trace the victim’s signature, Kilpatrick responded that she must not have been in her “right mind” because she did not remember doing that, and then she blamed her medications. 

After further discussion, Kilpatrick admitted that it was obvious she did the transactions, admitted to forging the withdrawal slips and stealing money from the account, and admitted that she then put the cash in her pocket or her purse while she was at her teller station. She also said she would not remove the cash at the time of the transaction, but would wait until later. 

She indicated she did not realize how much she had taken, that she had a gambling problem, and that all the money she stole had been spent. 

Fifteen unauthorized withdrawals, a total of $ 28,600, were made for the following amounts:

  • March 16, 2020, in the sum of $ 2,000;  
  • March 25, 2020, in the sum of $ 2,000;  
  • April 20, 2020, in the sum of $ 1,200; 
  • June 18, 2020, in the sum of $ 1,000;  
  • July 22, 2020, in the sum of $ 2,000;  
  • Aug. 10, 2020, in the sum of $ 1,000; 
  • Aug. 20, 2020, in the sum of $ 2,000;  
  • Aug. 27, 2020, in the sum of $ 2,000;  
  • Sept. 28, 2020, in the sum of $ 1,200;  
  • Nov. 10, 2020, in the sum of $ 3,500;
  • Nov. 25, 2020, in the sum of $ 2,800;  
  • Jan. 7, 2021, in the sum of $ 2,600; 
  • Jan. 20, 2021, in the sum of $ 1,600; 
  • Feb. 1, 2021, in the sum of $ 2,100; and  
  • March 4, 2021, in the sum of $ 1,600.

Kilpatrick confirmed that she fraudulently completed all the withdrawals on all of the dates, except for Feb. 1, saying she could not confirm or deny the transaction, but that it was obviously her because her teller number was stamped on the back of the slip. She said she did not take any money prior to 2020 because she did not have access to the large balance report prior to that time.

Kilpatrick will appear in court again on Aug. 12.   

Author: Mike Stoll
Read more here >>> Austin Daily Herald

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Austin woman charged with theft of over $28K from personal bank account
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