Former Arvest Employee Sentenced For Embezzlement

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — A former Arvest Bank employee was sentenced Wednesday (June 6) to three years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution for embezzling customer money.

Erica L. Keller pleaded guilty in November 2017 in U.S. District Court to one count of embezzling funds by a bank officer, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Her prison sentence will be followed by five years of supervised release.

Judge Tim Brooks allowed Keller to self-surrender no later than 2 p.m. on July 10. She’ll remain free on a $5,000 bond until then.

An Arvest spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Keller embezzled $321,269.60 between 2007 and 2013, 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.

Federal prosecutors estimated more than 30 customers were affected.

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.

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.