Ex-employee gets one year in prison for embezzling $450k from local bank

A Connecticut woman has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for stealing more than $450,000 from the bank where she was employed.

Maria Rosa Esteves, 41, of Bridgeport, was sentenced to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, followed by six months of home confinement and three years of supervised release.

Esteves also was ordered to pay full restitution, and to perform 60 hours of community service during her term of supervised release.

She was sentenced on Jan. 12 in Hartford federal court after, in August 2014, pleading guilty to one count of embezzlement from a federally insured bank.

Worked in Adjustments Department

According to court documents and statements made in court, Esteves was employed by People’s United Bank from 1993 to 2014.

Beginning in 2006, Esteves worked primarily in the bank’s Adjustments Department, ultimately holding the title of lead adjuster with responsibilities that included arranging for bank cashier’s checks to be issued to customers when a customer’s account needed to be adjusted.

Federal prosecutor said Esteves used her position in the Adjustments Department to embezzle $452,122 from the bank by causing the bank to issue cashier’s checks that she would then use to pay individuals or entities that she owed money to, including her utility company, homeowner’s insurance company and mortgage providers.

More than 300 checks involved

Esteves also embezzled money by depositing cashier’s checks into bank accounts she controlled and from which she, or others associated with her, were able to access the funds, prosecutors said.

In total, she misappropriated more than 300 cashier’s checks, based on court documents.

Esteves was ordered to report to prison on March 2. She was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford federal court.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Richard J. Schechter, senior litigation counsel in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Connecticut.