Ola Suzanne Stowers, 34, Dawsonville, Georgia, was sentenced to prison by United States District Judge Richard W. Story on charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Stowers was sentenced to 3 years in prison, and ordered to pay $260,171.94 in restitution. Stowers pleaded guilty to the charges on April 4, 2011.
According to the charges and other information presented in court: From July 1999 through May 2010, Stowers was a closing paralegal and database manager at a real estate law firm located in Atlanta, Georgia. In June 2008, Stowers transferred $176,946.79 from a law firm escrow account into a Bank of America account that she had been directed to close, but instead kept open and changed the statement mailing address on the account to her residence.
After the transfer, the Bank of America account had a balance of $194,007.46. In July 2008, Stowers began writing checks from that Bank of America account for her own personal use, forging the signature of one of the firm’s partners. By March 2009, the Bank of America account had a balance of $959.93. In April 2010, Stowers deposited $82,727.42 of checks made payable to the law firm into the Bank of America account, and again wrote checks from the account for her own personal use, again forging the signature of one of the firm’s partners.
United States Attorney Yates announced the sentence.
This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Jamila M. Hall prosecuted the case.