I suppose it will become a sign of the times – the economic times that is, but fraud will rise over the course of the next several years as we begin to see the “perfect storm” unleash its fury. As the need to survive increases – or at least maintain as some see it – the inclination to find means to “have” will tempt otherwise honest people to make choices that will have far reaching consequences. Fraud is being uncovered at increasing rates and, in my opinion, will only get worse. Ethical choices are thrown out of the window when faced with severe need.
Facing a federal indictment, a southwest Virginia woman – 35-year-old Rebecca Dawn Long of Jonesville – has been indicted on federal charges that she embezzled nearly $488,000 from the bank where she worked.
HOW: In Ms. Long’s case, she used “opportunity” as her method to create the fraud. She is accused of falsifying loan documents. According to the indictment she established a line of credit under a fictitious name.
According to the indictment, between December 2004 and September 2008 Long devised and executed a scheme to obtain money from The Peoples Bank of Ewing by establishing a line of credit under a fictitious name. After establishing the false credit line, Long allegedly withdrew $487,685.23.
The indictment also charges that Long created and faxed a fraudulent loan document to an office of The Peoples Bank for the purposes of disguising the fact that she had embezzled over $487,000 from that financial institution.
POINT OF INTEREST: In many of the current mortgage fraud cases, falsification of loan documents is common and, has in the past, almost been encouraged in order to meet the qualification standards from the loan underwriters. Underwriting standards have tightened significantly, but that does not stop the practice.
U.S. Attorney Julia Dudley said Tuesday that a grand jury in Abingdon indicted on charges that included bank fraud, bank embezzlement, money laundering and making a false statement on a loan document. She faces a maximum penalty of 120 years in prison and a $3 million fine if convicted.
QUESTION: Does anyone know Ms. Long and what might have motivated her to make such a foolish choice? If so, please feel free to comment.
Every choice has a consequence. In this case, Ms. Long is at the beginning of the phase of facing her consequences. I know what she is facing. I have faced it myself. While I am not proud of my past, I have to be honest as an ethics speaker and writer – I, too, spent time in federal prison for embezzlement. The experience was less than pleasant and the consquences linger to this day…and I have been out for 12 years.
While Ms. Long has made a grave mistake, as a wise man once said to me – You are not a mistake. Neither is Ms. Long. To all who seek justice…Ms. Long will stare justice in the face and likely face time of reflection in federal prison. However, to her family and friends, let me say, my thoughts are with you and I know that with the right approach there is recovery after an event like this.