Former banker pleads guilty to theft from customer account

Published 6:00 pm Friday, August 13, 2021

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A former First Farmers & Merchants Bank employee accused of stealing $28,600 from a customer’s personal bank account entered a guilty plea on Thursday in Mower County District Court.

Bonnie Ann Kilpatrick, 48, of Austin pleaded guilty to felony theft – take/use/transfer movable property without consent – as part of a plea agreement. She initially pleaded not guilty on July 1.

As part of that agreement, charges of felony theft by swindle, felony identity theft – transfers/possesses/uses identity of another person, and felony aggravated forgery will be dismissed at the sentencing.

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Court documents state that a woman reached out to law enforcement on April 8 regarding a theft of $28,600 from her mother’s First Farmers & Merchants Bank account. She and her mother reviewed bank statements and found 15 withdrawals over the past year that had not been made by the victim. Each withdrawal, she said, was in excess of the typical amount the victim withdrew, and that last withdrawal she could account for was made on Feb. 20, 2020.

The bank president reported that she ran full audit logs for every day there was a withdrawal from the victim’s account. She noted on seven different dates, Kilpatrick, who was a bank teller at the time, viewed historical data and/or printed at least one document from the account. She said that the first incident was on Feb. 20, 2020. On that day, the logs showed that Kilpatrick viewed the signature card on the account.

The bank president confirmed that the logs showed that Kilpatrick then reviewed the victim’s account on the following dates:

• March 16, 2020;

• March 25, 2020;

• Sept. 28, 2020;

• Nov. 25, 2020;

• Jan. 7, 2021; and

• Feb. 1, 2021.

She stated that on those dates, Kilpatrick viewed at least one image of a past transaction on the account and that on each of the dates, Kilpatrick also printed at least one of the images.

Surveillance footage taken at the bank on Nov. 25, 2020, Jan. 7, 2021, and Jan. 20, 2021, showed Kilpatrick completing the withdrawal transactions on the account, even though the victim was not at the bank and was never seen in the footage.

In total, 15 unauthorized withdrawals, a total of $28,600, were made for the following amounts:

• March 16, 2020, in the sum of $2,000;

• March 25, 2020, in the sum of $2,000;

• April 20, 2020, in the sum of $1,200;

• June 18, 2020, in the sum of $1,000;

• July 22, 2020, in the sum of $2,000;

• Aug. 10, 2020, in the sum of $1,000;

• Aug. 20, 2020, in the sum of $2,000;

• Aug. 27, 2020, in the sum of $2,000;

• Sept. 28, 2020, in the sum of $1,200;

• Nov. 10, 2020, in the sum of $3,500;

• Nov. 25, 2020, in the sum of $2,800;

• Jan. 7, 2021, in the sum of $2,600;

• Jan. 20, 2021, in the sum of $1,600;

• Feb. 1, 2021, in the sum of $2,100; and

• March 4, 2021, in the sum of $1,600.

Kilpatrick initially denied taking the money, but later admitted it, indicating that she had a gambling problem and that all the money she stole had been spent. She said she did not take any money prior to 2020 because she did not have access to the large balance report prior to that time.

Kilpatrick will be sentenced on Nov. 18.