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Former Erie bank teller hit with 5 new counts of theft

September 5, 2018

MORRISON – Five is not her lucky number.

A former teller accused of stealing $25,000 from five Erie State Bank customers, and from the bank itself, in bite-sized chunks over 5-plus years is facing five new felony charges.

Judy F. Murphy, 57, of Erie, was charged Feb. 12 in Whiteside County Court with continuing a financial crimes enterprise, which carries 4 to 15 years in prison, and two counts of misappropriating a financial institution’s property, each of which carries 3 to 7 years.

On Aug. 28, those charges were amended to add one count of theft of more than $10,000 but less than $100,000, also punishable by 4 to 15 years, and four counts of theft of more than $500 but less than $10,000, each of which carries 2 to 5 years.

Murphy, who is free on a $50,000 recognizance bond, pleaded not guilty that day and has a pretrial hearing Sept. 26.

According to records filed by court-appointed special prosecutors Tom Brown and Charles R. Zalar, at least three times on at least three different dates between Feb. 23 and Dec. 31, 2015, Murphy “knowingly executed or attempted to execute a scheme to obtain money or property by or under the control of Erie State Bank” using falsified transaction forms, which constitutes a continuing financial crimes enterprise.

The two counts of misappropriation come from accusations she “exerted unauthorized control “over money under the bank’s control between Feb. 23 and Dec. 31, 2015, and between March 13, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2015; while the most serious theft charge covers $13,700 taken from one customer between March 13, 2010 and Dec. 21, 2015.

The four lesser theft charges cover the other four customers: $1,700 taken between Aug. 13 and Dec. 26, 2015; $1,400 between July 6 and Dec. 21, 2015; $2,800 taken between Jan. 25, 2013, and Oct. 29, 2015; and $5,100 between Aug. 13 and Dec, 26, 2015, the documents show.

All told, prosecutors say Murphy took $24,700 is a series of 82 forged withdrawals – in $100, $200, $300, $400 and $500 amounts – from the five customers. She also took $300 in quarters from the bank vault in December 2015, they said.

Theft has a 3-year statute of limitations, but in a financial crimes enterprise, that clock does not start ticking until the date of the last act, which is how the amended charges came to be filed.

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