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Former Oklahoma bank employee sentenced to prison in $150,000 embezzlement

A former Bartlesville bank employee is headed to prison after being convicted of stealing money from elderly customers.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: March 18, 2014

A former Bartlesville bank employee was sentenced Monday to 13 months in prison for embezzling nearly $150,000 from elderly customers.

Patricia L. Swearingin, 67, pleaded guilty in December to misapplying bank funds.

The Bartlesville resident worked as a savings officer at the bank when it was known as Osage Federal Bank, according to federal prosecutors in Tulsa. She used that position to take money from 23 customers’ accounts between November 2007 and November 2010.

Swearingin would withdraw money from dormant bank accounts owned by elderly customers who had earned interest on certificates of deposit, prosecutors said. The average age of those customers was 86.

She forged their names on checks that she cashed at the bank’s drive-thru window after claiming the customers were waiting in her office.

Swearingin used most of the stolen money to gamble at casinos, prosecutors said.

A judge Monday ordered Swearingin to pay $159,000 in restitution to cover the customers’ losses and the cost of American Heritage Bank’s investigation.

She also must forfeit more than $45,000 from her retirement account at the bank. has disabled the comments for this article.