Former Bank Teller Pleads Guilty to Federal Fraud Charges

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced today that KAREN FARRELL TIGLER, age 35, of Harvey, Louisiana, pled guilty today to Bank Fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344, and Making and Subscribing False Tax Returns in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1).

According to documents filed in federal court, from January 1, 2013, to November 14, 2016, TIGLER was employed as a multi-service banker with the Hancock Whitney Bank.  TIGLER worked at a Whitney branch in New Orleans, LA.  Client A was in her mid-80s in 2015 and 2016 and was a banking customer of Whitney.

From February 9, 2015, to October 28, 2016, TIGLER used her position with the bank to embezzle approximately $349,556 from Client A’s account by using 100 counter checks to debit funds from Client A’s account.  TIGLER used her position with the bank to access personal information from other legitimate banking transactions to create the fraudulent counter checks.  TIGLER forged the signatures of Client A and various others on the counter checks  to conceal her embezzlement scheme.  TIGLER accessed or utilized legitimate checks drawn on Client A’s account to prepare fraudulent counter checks.  TIGLER cashed 21 counter checks totaling $73,924 that were supposedly for “roofing,” “market/garden work,” “light fixtures/cleaning,” “extras plumbing,” “misc. work,” “renovations,” and “maintenance.”  TIGLER cashed the other 79 counter checks totaling approximately $275,632 payable to another individual that were supposedly for “house,” “maintenance,” and for “happy birthday.” 

In addition, TIGLER failed to report $134,429 on her 2015 tax return and $215,127 on her 2016 return.  TIGLER reported W-2 income from the bank of $21,290 for the tax year 2015 and $19,256 for 2016. TIGLER spread the deposits of cash of embezzled funds into her various accounts.  TIGLER also failed to report gambling winnings of $32,180 on her 2015 tax return.  When confronted by a relative of Client A, TIGLER falsely implicated another individual in an effort to conceal her embezzlement of funds from Client A’s account. 

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For her plea of guilty to Bank Fraud, TIGLER faces a maximum penalty of thirty (30) years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000,000 or the greater of twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person under Title 18, United States Code, Section 3571. She also faces up to _ years of supervised release. As to her plea of guilty to Making and Subscribing False Tax Returns, TIGLER faces a maximum term of imprisonment of three (3) years and/or a fine of $100,000.00 plus cost of prosecution as well as up to _years of supervised release. For each charge to which she has pled guilty, she must also pay a $100 mandatory special assessment fee   

Elder fraud complaints may be filed with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or at 1-877-FTC-HELP. The Department of Justice provides a variety of resources relating to elder fraud victimization through its Office of Victims of Crime at www.ovc.gov. Additional elder justice resources, training, and outreach materials can be found at the Elder Justice Website at www.elderjustice.gov.

Sentencing in this matter is scheduled for August 3, 2022, before United States District Judge Sarah S. Vance.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Hancock Whitney Bank with this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carboni.


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