PORTLAND, Maine — A 45-year-old Rockland woman was sentenced Wednesday to 33 months in prison for a “Ponzi scheme” conducted at the expense of a Rockland bank.
U.S. Attorney Donald Clark said the FBI determined that Shauna L. Quinn had made illegal transactions exceeding $900,000, and that a conservative estimate of the amount of money that ended up being taken from Rockland Savings Bank was $538,795.
Quinn pleaded guilty to bank fraud in August. When U.S. District Court Judge George Singal sentenced her Wednesday, he said that Quinn’s three-year scheme of creating fake loans and extending lines of credits to family members was a modified Ponzi scheme.
The federal prosecutor agreed.
“This was the ultimate Ponzi scheme, but instead of getting the money from investors, she took it from the bank,” Clark said.
The effect on the bank was significant, Clark said.
Dawn Libby-Lynch, a vice president for Rockland Savings Bank, addressed the court during the Wednesday hearing.
“I hired her many years ago, and her full-time job for her last few years was to embezzle from the bank,” Libby-Lynch said.
The bank suffered a loss of reputation from the fraud, she said.
Former bank president Harry Mank Jr., who also participated in the hearing, said he was glad the matter was completed. Mank chastised Quinn for her crimes but also for her statements she made during the hearing.
Quinn said she started out trying to help her brother who was in financial need.
“It snowballed, I never meant for the bank to lose money,” Quinn said. “It was supposed to be a temporary fix, a Band-Aid.”
Quinn said she increased lines of credit and created loans for three family members who she claimed knew what she was doing. She said her mother, who has since died, needed to pay off credit card bills. Quinn said she is now estranged from the remaining family members that she helped.
Clark disputed Quinn’s statements that she was helping family members, saying that her brother filed a lawsuit against the bank, claiming he was unaware of what was being done.
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 2012 and the rest of it in May.
Judge Singal questioned Quinn at length Wednesday about the bank fraud. He said he believes the fraud would have continued if the bank had not caught on in June 2011. He pointed out that she bought a car with the money and when he asked what type of vehicle she purchased, Quinn said she could not recall but had since sold it.
Defense attorney Dale Thistle said that Quinn received little of the money but that it instead went to relatives.
Clark also disputed the prosecution’s assertions that more than $295,000 went into her bank account. He said most of the money was spent on general living expenses such as food, fuel and pharmacy expenses.
The bank fraud case carried 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. Singal waived the fine but ordered Quinn to repay the bank $81,905 and the bank’s insurance company $456,889. He added that he was aware it was not likely she would be able to repay the funds because she had been working as a waitress.
Quinn had no previous criminal record. She cooperated with investigators after she was caught, Thistle said.
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.
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.
Quinn was charged in December and indicted by a federal grand jury in January. She was scheduled to go to trial next month.
The judge ordered her to report to prison on Jan. 15.