Ex-banker accused of embezzling $650,000
A former vice president at a local bank is accused of embezzling $650,000 in cash over several years from vaults, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Anna Louise Jones, 53, of Loma, formerly Bank of Colorado’s vice president of teller operations at the 200 Grand Ave. branch, was formally advised last week after her arrest on suspicion of theft of more than $20,000, money laundering and filing a false tax return.
The arrest was the result of a 17-month Grand Junction police investigation.
Jones became the focus of a criminal investigation when Bank of Colorado reported the suspected theft to police in March 2011, after an audit by a corporate fraud officer, according to the affidavit. Jones was fired as a result of the probe.
She was the supervisor of all tellers at Bank of Colorado’s Grand Avenue branch and responsible for the movement of cash between two vaults.
Jones was under scrutiny after an audit found discrepancies between the general ledger — an accounting of all finances including cash on-hand in the vaults — and the records of daily counts of cash in the vaults, the affidavit said.
The audit showed the general ledger had shortages dating to April 30, 2009, adding up to $650,000.
The audit found tellers’ individual drawers had no suspicious activity, the affidavit said. Several employees later passed polygraph examinations by their employers.
“Anna Jones was the only person with access and control to access the vault and control the numbers and employees to make the difference go unnoticed,” an investigator wrote in the affidavit.
Accounting documents were “completed in pencil, and on several of the lines numbers appeared to have been written, erased, and overwritten with other numbers.” Several employees said while they never participated in regular audits of the cash, they were given audit paperwork by Jones, their boss, who had them sign off on the audits, the affidavit said.
During an interview with a corporate auditor, Jones allegedly explained a “cash reserve” accounted for the cash discrepancy, which was apparently unknown to her bosses, the affidavit said.
“Through Anna’s extensive banking knowledge and experience ... she should reasonably know there is no such thing as a ‘cash reserve’ and the general ledger must always balance with the actual cash count,” the affidavit said.
A corporate email account showed Jones was concerned about an active internal investigation in February 2011. Jones was peppering bank employees in emails about what the corporate auditors were doing “and how extensively they were going to audit, including if they were counting cash,” the affidavit said.
A bank employee told investigators that Jones on Jan. 17, 2011 — two days before the alleged disappearance of $50,000 in cash — appeared “intoxicated or high” in a break room of the bank. The witness said Jones talked about needing to replace a piece of expensive jewelry, which her daughter had lost.
“At that time, Anna was stuffing cash into various places on her clothing, including her bra, which (employee) believed to be unusual,” the affidavit said.
Under court order, authorities found Jones had some 13 open credit accounts, including two mortgages, two vehicles and eight credit cards, with monthly payments totalling $4,245, the affidavit said. Her gross income was $3,750 per month.
The affidavit suggests more than the unaccounted-for $650,000 may have been stolen. Records of daily cash counts prior to April 30, 2009, had been destroyed as a matter of routine document retention, the affidavit noted.
Jones had worked at the bank since 1991.
Jones was arrested in connection with the case Nov. 2, but wasn’t booked into the Mesa County Jail after posting a $10,000 bond that same day.
She was formally advised in court on Nov. 5.