Theft from bank leads to jail time for ex-manager By JAMIE SATTERFIELD,
January 12, 2007

A woman who admitted stealing nearly $76,000 from a Farragut bank while she worked there as operations manager will spend four months in jail.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips on Thursday ordered April Elaine Langley to be imprisoned at a prison "camp" in Kentucky. After the prison term is done, Langley will be under house arrest at her Lenoir City residence.

Langley has admitted pilfering from the coffers of the First Tennessee Bank branch on Kingston Pike in Farragut over a four-year period beginning in November 1999 until her thievery was discovered in December 2003.

Defense attorney Nicholas D. Bunstine argued at a sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court Thursday that Langley, a mother of two teenage girls, was in dire financial straits at the time.

"The reason this lady stole this money was for necessities," Bunstine told Phillips.

Bunstine said Langley recorded her thefts.

"When she came to me, she said, 'Nick, I stole $76,000. I kept detailed records of everything I took,'?" Bunstine said. "Her intent was always to pay back every single dime."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Schmutzer disagreed, eliciting testimony from First Tennessee Bank employee Lisa Stanley.

"(Langley said,) 'I want nice stuff for my kids,'?" Stanley testified on Langley's explanation for the theft.

Stanley also said Langley did not come clean when first confronted and has never fully explained the embezzlement scheme.

"She was not truthful," Stanley testified.

Bunstine urged Phillips to go easy on Langley. He noted she's already saved up $10,000 toward paying the bank back, has struggled for years to make ends meet after one of her daughters suffered a serious medical malady, and now has a good job at Anderson News.

"This is a job she will never have an opportunity to have again," Bunstine argued.

Schmutzer pushed for prison time.

"The banking system depends on the integrity of its employees," Schmutzer said.

Phillips took a middle-of-the-road approach, granting Schmutzer's bid for prison but limiting it to a term that will allow her to keep her job.

"She made an extraordinary attempt to right her wrongs," Phillips said.