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Star-Telegram.com

DFW Bank of America manager pleads guilty to stealing $2 million from customers

Posted Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012

By Deanna Boyd

dboyd@star-telegram.com

FORT WORTH -- A former Bank of America branch manager accused of stealing more than $2 million from customers' accounts over nine years pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to one count of bank fraud.

Pamela Cobb, 40, faces probation to 30 years in federal prison and could be ordered to pay a $1 million fine and restitution.

She will be sentenced in September by U.S. District Judge Terry Means after a pre-sentencing investigation and report.

Prosecutors allege that Cobb, 40, used the money she stole while working at the Bank of America in River Oaks for vacations, clothing, jewelry, land and other purchases.

Her items subject to forfeiture include property in Granbury, a 1967 Ford Mustang, a 2004 camping trailer, and a diamond ring and matching bracelet, according to court documents.

Her River Oaks home could also be forfeited as a substitute for items that cannot be recovered, court documents show.

Cobb's attorney, Julya Billhymer, said the best scenario would be that her client is allowed to continue working so she can pay restitution.

"No one gets restitution if she's sitting in some federal prison," Billhymer said.

Billhymer declined to say where Cobb is working, just that it is not a bank and that "she's not handling money."

According to court documents, Cobb was hired at the River Oaks branch in 1996 and was promoted to personal banker, then assistant branch manager and bank manager. Her positions gave her full access to customers' accounts.

From around 2002 until April 2011, Cobb withdrew cash from customers' accounts, sometimes forging their signatures on withdrawal slips. Cobb would inform tellers that she was withdrawing cash for the customer, sometimes lying that the customer was waiting in her office.

The tellers did not question the withdrawals or request the customer's identification because they trusted Cobb, court documents say.

Prosecutors say Cobb avoided having to fill out mandatory bank reports by never withdrawing more than $10,000 per transaction. She targeted customers with whom she'd had a long-standing relationship, knowing that they would likely report any improper transactions directly to her. If they did, Cobb would replenish their accounts with money stolen from others.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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