Maria Esteves pleads guilty to embezzlement

Deirdre M, Daly, United States attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, special agent in charge of the New Haven Division of the FBI, announced a guilty plea Maria Rosa Esteves, 40, of Bridgeport, to an embezzling charge.

Ms. Esteves waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport to one count of embezzlement from a federally insured bank. According to court documents and statements made in court, Ms, Esteves was employed by People’s United Bank from 1993 to 2014. Beginning in 2006, she  worked primarily in the bank’s Adjustments Department, ultimately holding the title of lead adjuster with responsibilities that included arranging for bank cashier’s checks to be issued to customers when a customer’s account needed to be adjusted.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Ms. Esteves used her position to embezzle more than $400,000 from the bank by causing the bank to issue cashier’s checks that she would then use to pay persons or entities that she owed money to, including her utility company, homeowner’s insurance company and mortgage providers. Ms. Esteves also reportedly embezzled money by depositing cashier’s checks into bank accounts she controlled and from which she was able to access the funds. In total, Ms. Esteves misappropriated more than 300 cashier’s checks.

Ms. Esteves is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford on Nov. 7, at which time she faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years, a fine of up to $1 million and an order of restitution.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Greenwich Police Department and is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Richard J. Schechter.

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