An Ambitious 19-Year-Old Teller Learns Banks Do Double-Check Withdrawals

The Wachovia branch in Midtown was robbed today -- one Twitter report read "Man came in, did the usual I have a gun' patted his normal groin area, held up the bank. Bank is now in lock-down" -- but really, bank robberies have gotten so ho-hum these days.

Unless the robbing is an inside job.

Like the one done by Brooke Nelius of Conroe, whose indictment was announced today by the US Attorney's office.

Just 19 years old, Nelius is charged with taking full advantage of her teller position at an Amegy bank branch, to the tune of $25,450 in less than two months.

How? By just filling out withdrawal forms with fake info.

"Nelius made unauthorized over the counter withdrawals from Amegy Bank customer accounts by falsifying withdrawal slips, making them appear to originate from the customers when in fact they did not," the US Attorney's office says. "Nelius allegedly forged account holders' signatures and included identifying information such as their drivers license numbers and dates of birth on the slips and cashed the falsified withdrawal slips by removing Amegy Bank funds from her teller drawer equal to the amount she placed on the slips."

That's being a self-starter, to be sure. Who says kids these days can't think for themselves?

Of course, the "thinking" part of the whole thing apparently didn't go so far as to wonder whether the bank might have some way of double-checking these things. Which is kinda charming, in either a sweetly naive or incredibly dumb way. Twenty-five thousand gone in less than two weeks, who's going to miss it?

The hammer could come down hard. Not only is she never again likely to get a teller job in Conroe, but she faces some stiff punishment if convicted:

Each of the 13 counts of bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment and $1 million fine, upon conviction. The aggravated identity theft count, upon conviction, carries a mandatory two-year term of imprisonment to be served consecutive to any term of imprisonment imposed for a bank fraud conviction.

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