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Financial Crimes

Former Key West Bank officer pleads guilty to obstruction of justice charges

TAMPA, Fla. – A former Key West Bank officer pleaded guilty Thursday to unlawfully disclosing a federal grand jury subpoena to a third party with intent to obstruct a judicial proceeding. The guilty plea resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to the plea agreement, on Oct. 9, 2008, Karen Galo, 33, of Key West, received two federal grand jury subpoenas related to a mortgage fraud and money laundering investigation. At the time, Galo was an officer with Key West Bank and knew the subject of the subpoenas through her position with the bank. After receiving the grand jury subpoenas at the bank, Galo contacted the subject and sent him copies of the subpoenas by fax. Galo disclosed the subpoenas to the subject with the intent to obstruct the investigation being conducted in Tampa.

When Galo received the subpoenas, she also received a warning letter notifying her that it is a federal crime to disclose a federal grand jury subpoena received by a financial institution. Galo included that letter in the fax sent to the subject.

Two days after the subject received the grand jury subpoenas, he fled the United States.

HSI Tampa and HSI Key West special agents arrested Karen Galo, 33, of Key West, Feb. 23.

She faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.