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Financial Crimes

East Texas woman sentenced to more than 2 years for bank fraud

TEXARKANA, Texas — An east Texas woman was sentenced Monday to 27 months in federal prison for bank fraud violations, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, Eastern District of Texas.

Mellissa Kay Morris, 48, from Winnsboro, Texas, pleaded guilty April 2 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and was sentenced Aug. 20 by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider. Morris was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $108,101.28.

According to information presented in court, while employed as assistant manager of Pioneer Credit Company in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, Morris devised a scheme in which she fraudulently created new loan applications for customers who did not have active loans. Morris used the customer's name, Social Security number and other identifying information to create the loan application. Morris then approved the loan, issued a check in the name of the customer on Pioneer's account, signed the check on behalf of Pioneer, and then forged the customer's signature on the check. Morris then used those funds for her personal gain. This fraudulent activity resulted in a financial loss of at least $200,000. Morris was indicted by a federal grand jury Aug. 11, 2011.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan R. Jackson.