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Bank manager accused of stealing from customers, gambling it away

September 20, 2010 |  4:11 pm

A bank manager who two years ago was named “Woman of the Year” by the Tulare Chamber of Commerce was arrested Monday and charged with stealing nearly $700,000 from customers’ accounts, money she allegedly squandered at a Central Valley casino.

Jeri Sell, a manager at the Tulare branch of Citizens Business Bank, is accused of secretly withdrawing $679,000 from customers’ accounts between 2005 and 2009 and using her position to conceal the thefts from customers.

She allegedly placed “mail holds” on customer accounts so they would not receive statements documenting the thefts, the attorney general’s office said in a news release. Sell, 55, could not be reached. 

Sell withdrew $379,000 from ATMs at Tachi Palace casino in Lemoore and had “a serious gambling problem,” Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown said in the news release.  "A person who was an honored and respected pillar of the community apparently took money for her own use that had been deposited, in full confidence that it would remain safe, by people she knew," Brown said.

-- Stuart Pfeifer

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