SAN JOSE – LAWFUEL – Press Release Service -United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that a federal grand jury sitting in San Jose returned a sealed indictment on June 15, 2006, charging Vivian Michelle Titus, 43, of Woodside, with six counts of bank fraud and six counts of theft or embezzlement by a bank official. Titus was charged with embezzling, between August 2001 and January 2004, $700,000 from her employers, Mid- Peninsula Bank and First Republic Bank in Palo Alto. Titus was employed as a Senior Vice President at the Palo Alto Branch of Mid-Peninsula Bank from February 1996 through October 2003, and as a Managing Director at First Republic Bank in Palo Alto from October 2003 through March 2004. The indictment was unsealed upon the arrest of Ms. Titus on, June 19, 2006. She was released on $200,000 bond.
According to the indictment, Titus executed a scheme to defraud the two banks by fraudulently creating fictitious loan accounts in the names of bank customers and transferring funds from the fraudulently-created accounts to herself.
The First Fraudulent Transaction
The indictment alleges that on August 16, 2001, while employed by Mid-Peninsula Bank, Titus fraudulently opened a $250,000 Line of Credit account and a corresponding checking account in the name of a bank customer by forging the customer’s signature on the loan and account application. After opening the unauthorized account, Titus withdrew $200,000 from it to use as a down payment for a house in Atherton, and withdrew the remaining $50,000 for other personal uses.
The Second Fraudulent Transaction
The indictment further alleges that on February 12, 2003, while still employed by Mid-Peninsula Bank, Titus opened a $250,000 Line of Credit account and a corresponding checking account in the name of another bank customer, again by forging the customer’s signature on the loan and account application. After opening the account, Titus withdrew the full $250,000; she used $200,000 to repay a personal loan and $50,000 for personal spending. The indictment further charges that Titus set up a post office box account in Redwood City to which she caused all of the account statements related to the fraudulent loan to be mailed in order to conceal the existence of the account from the customer.
The Third Fraudulent Transaction
According to the indictment, on January 28, 2004, while employed by First Republic Bank in Palo Alto, Titus withdrew $200,000 in the form of a cashier’s check from the account of a bank customer, without the customer’s authorization or consent. She used the $200,000 to help pay off one of the earlier fraudulent loans at Mid-Peninsula Bank.
The case will be heard by Honorable Ronald M. Whyte, United States District Judge, before whom the parties will next appear on July 17, 2006, for trial setting.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of bank fraud and embezzlement by a bank officer, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344(2) and 656, respectively, is thirty years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000, plus restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. An indictment only contains allegations and these defendants, as with all defendants, must be presumed innocent unless and until convicted. An indictment contains only allegations against a person and, as with all defendants, Titus must be presumed innocent unless and until convicted.
The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Matthew Harris is the Special Assistant United States Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Legal Assistant Lauri Gomez.
A copy of this press release and related court filings may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.plhttps://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]