Former Northwest Bank employee sentenced

April 18, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS — Stacy Lynn Ahlgren, a former employee of Northwestern Bank in Ludington, was sentenced to federal prison for embezzling nearly $1 million from the bank over nearly six years, has reported.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker on Wednesday, April 17, ordered Ahlgren, 39, to prison for 27 months, followed by supervised release for three years. He also ordered Ahlgren to pay restitution of $873,589.76, the amount that is documented to have been stolen.

Court documents stated the prison sentence was at the low end of federal sentencing guidelines, which recommended a range of 27 to 33 months.

In a sentencing memorandum filed with the court last week, Ahlgren’s attorney, Larry C. Willey, asked for a sentence below the guidelines. Willey argued that Ahlgren had been influenced by a bad marriage with an abusive husband, whom she tried to make happy by financing his “lifestyle.”

Ahlgren’s ex-husband Garth Allen Kimbler, whom she divorced in 2012, is in state prison for weapons and vandalism convictions in connection with a November 2011 attack on his then-wife.

Willey’s memorandum said Stacy Ahlgren’s salary from the bank, where she worked as a senior customer service representative and had access to its vault, was $18,500 per year throughout the period of the embezzlement, 2006 through 2011.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert M. Stella responded that Ahlgren, then known as Stacy Lynn Kimbler, had many opportunities to “make the right choice” by stopping her criminal conduct but failed to do so.

Stella’s sentencing memorandum said she used most of the stolen money to support her husband’s alcohol, drug and gambling habits, as well her own gambling, which Stella said by her own admission accounted for more than $100,000 in spending during the embezzlement period. Stella said that, according to the record, her husband had no knowledge of her theft.

Ahlgren pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to embezzlement from an insured bank, a federal crime. According to Stella’s sentencing memo, $100,000 of the stolen money was paid by the bank itself, the rest by its insurer.

Ahlgren admitted embezzling $873,589.76 from the bank from 2007 through 2011, with the amounts rising each year from $140,866.45 in 2007 to $188,591.52 in 2011, according to her plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Dept.

Ahlgren worked at two branch locations of Northwestern Bank in Ludington. By 2006 she was the senior customer service representative, giving her sole responsibility over the bank vault in the branch at 101 E. Court St.

According to the plea agreement, at least weekly she stole cash, cashier’s checks and money orders from her teller drawer in an area she knew was not caught on security cameras. She concealed the scheme by preparing false bank-vault audit sheets and by periodically falsifying the vault balance in the bank’s computer system.

According to Willey’s sentencing memo, bank officials became suspicious in December 2011 and did an audit at the Ludington branch. During the audit Ahlgren admitted her embezzlement to a fellow employee, repeated it to bank officials and again repeated it to local police the same day, Willey said.

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