Former Bradenton bank teller ordered repay $20K she stole from B.H. O. Harris bank

A former B.M.O. Harris Bank teller was ordered to repay the $20,000 of the bank’s money she stole as part of a plea deal she took Wednesday afternoon.

Amanda Townsend, 42, pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft of $10,000 to $20,000. As part of the negotiated plea deal, Circuit Judge Susan Maulucci sentenced Townsend to 30 days in the county jail, with credit for time served, followed by five years of probation.

Repaying the $20,000 Townsend stole will be a condition of her probation.

“She will pay $100 a month beginning within 30 days of being released from the jail,” Maulucci said.

The amount, agreed to by Assistant State Attorney Lisa Chittaro and Assistant Public Defender Carly Robbins-Gilbert, is what Townsend is currently able to pay. Maulucci said the probation department will monitor her payments, which will increase or decrease depending on her ability to pay while on probation.

As another condition of her probation, Townsend will be prevented from holding any job where she has a fiduciary responsibility, in banking or is responsible for third-party money.

Townsend could have faced up to five years in prison. The case was scheduled to go to trial during the trial period that begins Monday.

On the morning of May 26, 2016, Townsend was the sole teller responsible for the vault at B.M.O. Harris Bank, 4502 Cortez Road West, Bradenton, in addition to being responsible for her own teller drawer.

Before the bank opened, Townsend completed two “buys” from the vault, taking $3,000 and $10,000. Later that afternoon, Townsend completed another “buy” from the vault, taking $7,000.

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None of the transactions — captured by video surveillance — were never recorded as is required since the vault’s system and the tellers’ drawer system do not interact with one another. Townsend never completed balance sheets for her teller drawer or the vault that day, as is also required daily.

The following day, however, another bank teller found the $20,000 and it was later confirmed when management did a cash audit. When management then pulled the vault’s paperwork from the day prior, they saw that Townsend had forced the vault to balance by stating there was more money than there actually was.

When a fraud investigator with the bank interviewed Townsend, she claimed not to remember any of the transactions in question. When confronted with paperwork, Townsend still denied any recollection.