Senior bank employee gets 18 months

A 46-year-old woman was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on Monday after pleading guilty to obtaining $39,210.94 by deception while she was a senior employee at Scotia Bank and Trust.

Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn pointed out that the behavior of Ilsa Dalila Archibold was a breach of trust offense, negatively affecting the banking industry and impacting public confidence.

Sentencing guidelines put this offense in the range of two to three years, the magistrate said. A starting point of two years was pushed to three years because of Archibold’s position as senior home financing specialist and the lengthy period over which the offending occurred – 22 counts between June 2010 and July 2012.

In Archibold’s favor were her early guilty pleas and offer of compensation, which brought the sentence back down to two years; other factors cited by defense attorney Delroy Murray further reduced the sentence to 18 months.

Full compensation was ordered to be paid within 14 days or the defendant would serve a further six months in default. Mr. Murray noted that his client’s accounts had been frozen, so court assistance might be needed to get the funds in time.

The offending occurred when Archibold received a 1 percent commitment fee from bank customers who had been approved for a mortgage. The deception was her acceptance of the fee and falsely representing that it would be applied to the customer account. Instead of crediting the accounts, she kept the money.

The bank was alerted in September 2012 when a mortgage applicant attended the bank with a receipt for a commitment fee that could not be found in the bank’s general ledger. Archibold was asked about it and said she had forgotten to process the transaction.

She subsequently produced a record and funds, and then resigned on Sept. 20, 2012, leaving the jurisdiction the next day. When she returned seven months later, she was arrested by the Financial Crime Unit.

Mr. Murray had advised that the stolen money was not used for any extravagant lifestyle; rather, he submitted a letter from a physician who was treating Archibold’s father in Honduras. Funds she sent for his treatment totalled more than US$59,000 between 2008 and 2012.

The magistrate detailed records from Archibold’s bank and credit union accounts, noting that the credit union account had increased some $40,000 in two years. She therefore rejected this explanation as to use of funds.

There was no evidence as to the impact of the offending on the victim or on Archibold’s fellow employees. The impact on herself – embarrassment, being the subject of speculation, inability to find employment – was not unusual for this type of offense and had been bought on by Archibold’s own actions, the magistrate pointed out.

Mr. Murray has asked that consideration be given to his client’s health and the welfare of her children. He submitted a letter in which her doctor had said that incarceration could impede a long-standing ailment.

The magistrate said the medical condition was not one which would make incarceration prohibitive. As to any emotional harm to the children, no evidence had been produced to suggest that they were more adversely affected than many children who are in the unhappy situation of having a parent before the court convicted of serious offenses.

Breach of trust offenses, she concluded, are almost always dealt with by way of a prison sentence unless the amount is small or there are exceptional circumstances. In this case, the amount was not small and she did not find exceptional circumstances.