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Bank employee charged with theft, forgery

WORTHINGTON -- A Reading woman who was employed at the Worthington Bank of the West Bank was charged Friday with several counts of theft and two of forgery for reversing or negating overdraft charges on her personal account.

WORTHINGTON -- A Reading woman who was employed at the Worthington Bank of the West Bank was charged Friday with several counts of theft and two of forgery for reversing or negating overdraft charges on her personal account.

In March 2006, the bank's corporate security investigator and the human resources manager reported to the Worthington Police Department that an employee had forged bank documents while employed to avoid paying overdraft charges.

Kimberly Jean Braun, 24, is charged with two counts of theft by swindle over $2,500, theft over $500, theft by swindle over $500 and two counts of aggravated forgery in Nobles County District Court.

According to the criminal complaint, Braun came forward after the bank announced there would be an internal audit, which the bank had scheduled because the number of reversed charges seemed too high. She contacted the bank president and admitted she had falsified bank records regarding her personal account.

On her two personal accounts, she credited one with reversed overdraft charges of $14,871.86, even though the bank had only charged the account with $8,869 in overdraft fees. On the other she reversed $1,210 in fees, while the bank had charged $3,270 in fees.

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Bank records also revealed she had reversed overdraft charges on her sister's account after removing a lump sum of at least $4,000 from the account and depositing it in her own. She told the detective she had reversed the charges on her sister's account as a result of the theft.

The total of unauthorized reversed overdraft charges issued by Braun is $18,029.86.

She reversed the charges by making out tickets authorizing reversal and forging the signatures of bank officials to make it appear that had approved the transaction. Once processed, the account would show a notation the overdraft fee had been paid.

There were approximately 70 forged documents filed by Braun.

If convicted, Braun faces a maximum combined penalty of 50 years imprisonment and/or $100,000 in fines. Her next court appearance is 9 a.m. Nov. 14 at Prairie Justice Center, Worthington.

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