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FAYETTEVILLE -- A former loan officer pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to stealing money from Arvest Bank.

Erica Keller waived indictment and pleaded guilty to theft, embezzlement and misapplication by a bank employee. Keller agreed to forfeit $321,269 or the equivalent in property.

Keller will be sentenced at a later date.

Keller worked for Arvest for 15 years, according to court records. She was working as a loan officer at the Elkins branch when she resigned in 2013.

Arvest officials began looking into loans Keller handled after a customer complained about money being taken out of his account and applied to a loan he thought was closed, according to the documents. The investigation revealed Keller took cash withdrawals from customer accounts on multiple occasions for personal use, falsified disbursement tickets, originated false loans and misapplied customer loan payments to conceal the fictitious loans.

Multiple fraudulent transactions were captured on Arvest's surveillance system and Keller's initials were clearly written on most of the tickets for fraudulent transactions, according to the documents.

When confronted in late 2013, Keller couldn't explain what happened and resigned shortly after, according to documents. The victims interviewed said Keller personally managed their accounts and processed their transactions, according to the documents.

Keller faces up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million, or both.

Keller is being allowed to remain free on $5,000 bond while awaiting sentencing.

NW News on 12/01/2017

Print Headline: Keller guilty of embezzlement

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