Fraud suspect reaches plea agreement

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Patricia Cabano, a former Craig woman who was charged with 31 counts of bank fraud, reached a plea agreement Monday in U.S. District Court in Denver.

Cabano pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud and was ordered to pay $535,530.67 in restitution and fines, according to court records.

Each count carries a possible sentence of as many as 30 years in prison, but as part of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend Cabano be sentenced to 37 months in prison.

Cabano will be sentenced June 18. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss all remaining counts, according to court records.

Cabano originally pleaded not guilty to charges May 28, 2009.

Prosecutors alleged she defrauded the Bank of Colorado’s Craig branch of about $565,000 while she worked there from 1998 to 2002.

An indictment filed May 6, 2009, states that Cabano took money from 18 victims through fraudulent bank account transfers that ranged from $1,000 to $94,000.

According to the indictment, federal authorities said Cabano used her “largely unsupervised access to customers’ accounts” to make electronic transfers to accounts she owned, as well as accounts of family members and “those of the customers she favored.”

Accounts she allegedly took money from include the city of Craig, Colorado Northwestern Com­munity College and the Mof­fat County treasurer.

According to court documents, Cabano “developed elaborate means of re-crediting those accounts before the end of their statement cycles, of concealing the unauthorized transfers, and of creating and distributing false monthly statements.”

She pleaded guilty to counts 28 and 31.

Count 28 states Cabano made an unauthorized transfer of $2,500 from the Breeze Group account to the Electronic Motor and Machine account May 9, 2002. The next day, she transferred $2,000 from that account to her husband, Paul A. Cabano.

Count 31 states Cabano made an unauthorized transfer of $45,225 from the Moffat County Affiliated account to the Breeze Group account for $42,225 and to the Electric Motor and Machine account for $3,000.

According to court documents, the fraud was discovered after a bank customer noticed a discrepancy between two monthly statements. The customer then approached Cabano who “corrected” the statement.

The customer contacted the Colorado Division of Banking, which in turn notified the Bank of Colorado’s president.

An investigation into Cabano’s actions followed.

An eight-day jury trial was scheduled for August 2009, but was canceled. A new trial date in November 2009 also was canceled to provide adequate discovery time for the defense.

According to court records, the bank recovered $30,370.41 from accounts linked to Cabano and Electrical Motor and Machine.

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