PORTLAND, Maine — The attorney for a 45-year-old Rockland woman who admitted in court Tuesday to bilking more than $400,000 from Rockland Savings Bank said his client deserves leniency when sentencing is held later this year.
Shauna L. Quinn pleaded guilty to bank fraud during a 15-minute hearing in U.S. District Court in Portland.
The president of the bank where Quinn worked and committed the crimes said he was glad the case had finally reached this stage.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Rockland Savings President Harry Mank Jr. “You hear a lot about the rights of the accused, but there is little talk about the rights of victims.”
Mank said he was very surprised when the fraud involving Quinn was found back in June 2012.
He said money has not yet been recovered.
Attorney Dale Thistle, who represents Quinn, said he did not want to estimate what sentence his client would receive but that he believes her case warrants considerable leniency.
The bank fraud case carries a potential prison term of 30 years as well as a fine of up to $1 million or double the amount of money involved in the crime.
Quinn has no criminal record and is a good citizen, Thistle said. She cooperated with authorities from the start.
“She was a hardworking woman for the bank,” Thistle said. “She has a wonderful background. There is no chance of reoffending.”
U.S. District Court Judge George Singal accepted the plea after questioning Quinn about whether she understood the implications of her plea, including that she could not withdraw it regardless of the sentence. Thistle said he does not expect the sentencing to be held until late November at the earliest.
Thistle expects that his client will get some jail time.
The federal probation office will compose a presentence investigation report with a recommended sentence at which point both the U.S. attorney’s office and defense can respond to the recommendation.
The U.S. attorney’s office, through Assistant U.S. Attorney James Chapman Jr., states in paperwork filed Thursday that if the case had gone to trial, the federal government would have proved that between July 2008 and June 2011, Quinn came up with a scheme to defraud Rockland Savings of more than $400,000. The scheme, according to the federal government, involved extending home equity lines of credit and loans in the names of family members and then using that money for her personal use, for the use of family members, and to make payments on loans. The lines of credit and loans were done without the authorization of the bank or the family members, according to the prosecution.
Last year, Quinn’s brother Christopher Wellman and sister-in-law Tara Wellman, both of Hope, filed a civil lawsuit against the bank, claiming it allowed an employee to steal $95,000 from his accounts and take out a $68,000 loan in his name without his knowledge.
Sitting in Knox County Superior Court, Justice Jeffrey Hjelm dismissed the bulk of that lawsuit in December and the rest of it in May.
Quinn was hired by Rockland Savings in August 2000 as a teller. She was promoted to customer service representative in October 2004 and transferred in May 2007 to the collections department. In 2008, she also was given the duty of processing loans.
The bank became aware of the scheme in June 2011 when it learned Quinn had deposited $5,000 into an account with her daughter’s name on it. The money was traced to a line of credit in the name of Quinn’s mother, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The bank reviewed transactions and found that within the previous 45 days, Quinn had transferred about $55,000 from her daughter’s account to her own account.
Bank officials confronted her on June 24, 2011, and she admitted to making unauthorized increases to lines of credit and creating unauthorized loans to family members. She immediately was fired by the bank, the prosecution stated.
Quinn was charged in December and indicted by a federal grand jury in January. She was scheduled to go to trial next month.