Kathleen Louise Sammons will make her first appearance in U.S. District Court in Missoula on Tuesday.
She is charged with embezzlement from the credit union and money laundering, crimes she allegedly committed while employed at the Polson branch of the Whitefish Credit Union between 1998 and June 24, 2010, according to court documents.
According to charging documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Sammons “willfully misapplied and embezzled, abstracted and purloined the sum of approximately $676,000 of the monies and funds entrusted to the care of Whitefish Credit Union” by regularly and systematically removing cash from her cash drawer and falsifying records to hide her theft.
On Feb. 22, Sammons filed a plea agreement expressing her intent to plead guilty to all charges.
Embezzling carries a maximum punishment of 30 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine. Money laundering carries a maximum punishment of 20 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater.
Restitution is mandatory, with the exact amount to be determined at sentencing.
Both Lake County Sheriff’s Office detectives and Polson Police detectives initially investigated the case, which began as a missing person report and search for Sammons on June 24, 2010.
According to the Lake County criminal affidavit, Whitefish Credit Union officials told Polson Police detectives that Sammons had been told she needed to reduce the amount of cash in her vault.
Records indicated she had more than enough money, but had requested even more money from the federal repository. Her request initially was denied, but she tried again and received a reduced amount of money. The request triggered an audit of the credit union branch.
Auditors found the vault short more than $600,000 during their visit June 24, the same day Sammons was reported missing.
Sammons allegedly contacted her friend, Bob Congdon, before fleeing town. Court papers say Congdon told law enforcement officials Sammons visited his home the morning of June 24 and said she was in trouble at work since an auditor was set to visit the bank “as they spoke.”
Before she left his home, Sammons told Congdon she planned to leave town with a friend.
Sammons later was found and charged with embezzlement and money laundering.