BBT ‘former’ Vice President Sentenced to Federal Prison for Massive Embezzlement! Did He do it for Love?

Former Vice President of Burlington Bank and Trust (BBT) Michael Dean Miller, age 51, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison – and all this happened the day before Valentines day. What’s significant about that? Read below!

In March 2000, Miller was hired as Vice President for Operations at BBT. In June 2006, he was transferred to Vice President for Operations at TRBT, but also continued working in a dual capacity at BBT until his termination on December 12, 2006. During the relevant period, both Miller and his girlfriend (later fiancé, later wife) maintained various savings and checking accounts at BBT.

Starting on September 7, 2001, and continuing until December 12, 2006, Miller stole money from his employer, making 109 internal electronic transactions, or block entries, causing money to be transferred from internal bank expense accounts to his or his girlfriend’s personal accounts. Most commonly, Miller initially put the money went into one of the girlfriend’s accounts and subsequently transferred the money from there to Miller’s checking account. Miller attempted to disguise the movements as normal ones, causing notations such as “telephone transfer” or “miscellaneous debit” to appear on the account statements.

Now what is not clear from the news release from the US Attorney’s office is whether the girlfriend, fiance and later wife was implicated as part of the fraud. It appears (not appears) that she would have known about the funding since the transfers went into her account and then into his. The news release goes on to say:

Miller also made transactions causing bank checks to be issued or internet payments to be made to third parties, such as credit card companies, in payment of monies owed by Miller or his girlfriend.

Since Miller’s duties at the two banks included, among other things, reconciliation of internal bank accounts and review of employee account activity, and Miller was the security officer and had access to all computer applications used by the banks, Miller was able to prevent detection of his thefts for over five years.

As a white collar crime and business ethics speaker, I know first hand the impact that choices have. And, as I state to most audiences, every choice has a consequence. The strange thing is – most who make choices like this somehow think that they will get by with the cover up. But you do reap what you sow and there is no hiding from the consequences of the choice you make.

In December 2006, after other bank employees became suspicious of certain electronic transactions, officials at BBT discovered some of the recent thefts. Miller was confronted and admitting stealing about $46,000 during the previous year. A subsequent investigation by the FBI and Burlington Police Department and an audit by the FDIC revealed that Miller had embezzled a total of $569,115 over the course of more than 5 years.

The consequences – 37 months in prison – restitution of $539,130 – and $100 to the Crime Victim Fund.

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