Former Goodwyn Middle School Bookkeeper Convicted of All Financial Fraud Charges
United States Attorney Sean P. Costello of the Southern District of Alabama announces that a federal jury in Montgomery, found defendant Tiffany Culliver Franklin, 41, of Montgomery, guilty on all charges in a financial fraud case. Chief United States District Judge L. Scott Coogler presided over the trial, which started on June 7, 2021 and ended the following day. Franklin is scheduled to be sentenced in the fall of 2021.
On April 7, a federal grand jury for the Middle District of Alabama charged Franklin with violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 656 (theft or embezzlement by a bank employee) and 1344(1) (bank fraud), which carry a maximum potential sentence of 30 years, and 18 U.S.C. § 1343 (wire fraud), which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years.
The jury heard evidence that between June 2015 and July 18, 2017, Franklin was a vault teller with Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T), working at a local branch in Montgomery. An internal audit revealed that the vault drawers under Franklin’s control were short $202,000. Franklin gave a written statement to a bank investigator in which she expressed remorse for her conduct and admitted to embezzling $202,000 from the bank.
The jury also heard evidence that from January 2012 to December 2014, Franklin was employed as a personal banker at a Wells Fargo branch in downtown Montgomery. In October 2014, Franklin used a debit card issued in the name of an elderly Wells Fargo customer. Franklin used her Wells Fargo credentials to create and obtain a debit card to make numerous ATM check deposits into and immediate cash withdrawals from an elderly customer’s account. A Wells Fargo investigator interviewed Franklin, who admitted that she had issued the debit card in the elderly customer’s name and had been using ATMs to deposit checks from her own bank account into the customer’s Wells Fargo account.
Finally, the jury heard evidence that from September 2017 to June 2018, Franklin worked as a bookkeeper at Goodwyn Middle School (GMS) in Montgomery. Evidence introduced at trial established that during her time as GMS’s bookkeeper, Franklin stole at least $13,216 in money and property that belonged to GMS. She stole $6,995 in money taken in by GMS that should have been deposited into the school’s bank account. Franklin also diverted for her personal benefit $675 taken in by GMS through gate receipts at various athletic events. Franklin also diverted for her personal benefit $3,074 taken in by GMS from various classroom teachers. Moreover, Franklin withdrew from and failed to redeposit into GMS’s bank account $2,400 meant for use at various GMS athletic events. Finally, Franklin used a GMS-issued Walmart Community Card to make unauthorized purchases of various personal items, including Walmart gift cards. In September 2019, during an interview with investigators from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, Franklin confessed to stealing GMS’s money and gambling with it at casinos.
The United States Secret Service and the Alabama Attorney General’s Office investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorneys Sinan Kalayoglu and Justin Roller are prosecuting the case.