Former bank worker charged with stealing

Authorities say embezzlement spanned 29 years

Migues

GULFPORT

Former Hancock Bank employee Margaret Migues has been charged by federal authorities with embezzling from the bank for 29 years.

Her attorney, Tim Holleman of Gulfport, said she has cooperated with the FBI’s investigation. Hancock Holding Co. CEO Carl Chaney indicated the investigation is ongoing and said the bank has turned over the results of its internal probe.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Migues on Thursday with one count of felony embezzlement. She is accused of stealing the money from 1980 through July 2009. Court documents contained no details about the amount embezzled or from what source at the bank.

However, Chaney told the Sun Herald in July that Migues had been fired as branch operations manager at the main branch in Ocean Springs. A teller, Doris Willie Burney, also was terminated. Burney has not been charged.

Chaney said in July that the bank believed the two women had embezzled $1 million from the accounts of about 20 elderly customers. In some cases, he said, customer statements were altered so discrepancies went unnoticed.

Hancock Bank contacted the affected customers and replaced the money in their accounts, with accrued interest. Chaney also noted the two women were never off at the same time and said they kept meticulous records.

On Friday, the CEO said: “I believe I speak for the other 2,200 Hancock Bank associates when I say we are pleased that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed these charges.

“When we first learned of this matter in July 2009, we promised that no customer would lose a penny as a result of this incident. That’s why we hired one of the most highly regarded forensic accounting firms in the country to help us make sure we made our customers whole.”

By ANITA LEE – calee@sunherald.com

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