Michele Lauryn Osteen: Bank Employee Steals $100K from Trusts, Gets a Year and a Day in Prison

Michele Lauryn Osteen, 27, had quite a run managing trusts at Frost Bank. For two years she took checks and other funds intended for the minors and incapacitated adults and spent it on herself, because really, who's going to get a better bang for the buck, her or some incapacitated adult?

One hundred thousand dollars later she was caught, and yesterday, the U.S. Attorney's Office says, a federal judge sentenced her to a year and a day in prison.

She also got three years of supervised release and was ordered to make restitution of the nearly $100,000, but she had faced up to 30 years when first charged.

Osteen had quite the system going, the USAO says. She requested disbursements from the funds in the forms of Frost checks, having them sent to her Houston office, " where she was known and therefore less scrutinized," the USAO says, "but deposited them at a different Frost Bank branch in Galveston."

From there it was go time:

On some occasions, Osteen instructed Frost Bank to make the checks payable to companies, creditors and other entities to which she owed money and paid personal bills, debt and fines. On other occasions, she instructed Frost Bank to make the checks payable to Frost Bank or to a trust beneficiary, which she then used to obtain money orders she spent or deposited into her accounts.

A few times she instructed Frost Bank to make the checks payable to a retailer, then used the funds for shopping at that retailer. Many times, she instructed Frost Bank to make the checks payable to a healthcare provider, which she then altered by typing an instruction on the checks to reflect that they were for cashier's checks for "MLO," a fictitious entity. Osteen then used those altered checks to obtain cashier's checks from Frost Bank, which she deposited into her accounts.

Quite the busy bee!

Note to authorities: Don't put her in charge of accounting at the prison commissary.


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