Meridian bank VP going to jail for identity theft and bank fraud

By Monica Land

JACKSON – The former vice president and branch manager of a bank in Meridian has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Sharon Monroe, 57, of Lauderdale, pleaded guilty to the criminal charges against her on Feb. 3, 2012, and was sentenced this month by U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves.

Monroe was also ordered to pay $237,657.88 in restitution.

Federal officials said around June 2008, while employed as the vice president and branch manager of The Commercial Bank in Meridian, Monroe began fraudulently applying for loans using the names, social security numbers, and other personal information of family members and bank customers by falsifying loan paperwork and insurance documents, listing non-existent collateral, and forging signatures of the alleged applicants in order to secure such loans.

After securing the fraudulent loans, Monroe would take the loan proceeds and convert those funds into cash or official checks for her own personal use.

Officials said she was able to perpetuate and conceal her fraudulent activities in this scheme by using the funds she received as loan proceeds in the names of the victims to repay the funds she had previously received through the fraudulent loans in the names of other family members and bank customers.

Commercial Bank discovered Monroe’s scheme in 2009, and when interviewed by the FBI, Monroe openly confessed to having committed the crimes.

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