Former Arvest Employee Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — A former Arvest Bank loan officer has admitted to embezzling more than $300,000 from the bank over seven years, including raiding funds from customer accounts.

Erica L. Keller pleaded guilty Wednesday (Nov. 29) in U.S. District Court to one count of theft, embezzlement or misapplication of funds by a bank officer or employee, according to court documents.

In total, Keller embezzled $321,269.60 primarily by falsifying disbursement tickets to withdrawal cash from customer loan and savings accounts.

Keller also originated false loans and stole the proceeds. She would misapply customer loan payments to conceal the fictitious loans.

Keller, who served in various positions during 15 years with Arvest, started the fraudulent transactions in May 2007 and stopped in October 2013, according to court documents.

Arvest began investigating the transactions after one of Keller’s customers complained about funds being taken out of their savings account and applied to a loan they thought was closed.

It’s unclear how many customers were affected, but the bank refunded them, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Keller resigned from the Arvest branch in Elkins in late 2013 after she was unable to explain illicit transactions discovered by the bank’s internal fraud investigators.

Arvest declined to comment through a spokesperson, citing the ongoing litigation.

Keller is free on a $5,000 bond. Her sentencing hearing has not been set. She faces up to 30 years in prison and $1 million fine.

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