$187,000 in ATM thefts brings year in prison

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2012 - 8:38 PM

It appears that remorse and restitution saved a onetime veteran employee of a western Hennepin County bank from more time in prison for her multiyear siphoning of money from ATMs.

Kelly Jo Bistodeau, 53, of Albertville, was sentenced last week to one year and one day in prison for stealing more than $187,000 from the First National Bank of Elk River's Hassan branch. Bistodeau, who was a teller supervisor, pleaded guilty to aggravated forgery and eight counts of theft by swindle.

The sentence was less than half the two years and one month sought by the Hennepin County attorney's office, which argued that Bistodeau's sophisticated scheme spanned many years and the $187,000 was only the amount that could be charged under the five-year statute of limitations.

District Judge Mel Dickstein noted that Bistodeau had shown her remorse and had paid $187,000 in restitution to the bank.

According to the criminal complaint, the money was stolen from ATMs between 1998 and 2003, and many of the thefts occurred while Bistodeau refilled the machines at the bank. After stealing the money, she used various tactics to cover up her thefts, such as making false accounting entries into the general ledger.

John Houlton, the parent bank's president and chief executive officer, said in his victim impact statement that it appears Bistodeau stole more than $300,000.

He said in his statement that Bistodeau "misused and abused" the trust that came with her being a teller supervisor. She worked for the parent bank for more than 11 years until she was fired in July 2009.

"Your actions have caused great emotional pain for our employees," Houlton said. "They thought you were a mentor, a leader."

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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