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Michael C. Kuntz, former bank president and loan officer of North Dakota based Bremer Bank, was recently sentenced to federal prison and ordered to repay thousands of dollars after pleading guilty to federal charges of fraud. Kuntz and his co-conspirator, Mona Neuman, defrauded Bremer Bank out of approximately $800,000 over a seven year period. Evidence of the crime was collected during a joint investigation conducted by federal and state law enforcement bodies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions.

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Kuntz and Neuman engaged in a number of fraudulent activities, including making nearly a million dollars of loan disbursements and accepting payments from borrowers that Kuntz and Neuman individually pocketed. In total, the pair defrauded Bremer Bank of $800,000. Kuntz and Neuman also used the bank’s resources for personal gain, such as transferring funds from the bank to pay for vacations and luxury cars.

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Kuntz was sentenced to 15 months of prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. In addition to federal prison time, Kuntz was ordered to pay $820,695 in restitution, fines and forfeiture funds. As part of her plea agreement, Neuman received a sentence of 5 years of probation and was ordered to pay $477,399 to Bremer Bank.

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This case is a reminder of the importance of close and vigilant oversight in order to prevent fraud. While this case of fraud was quickly identified and ended before it had a chance to considerably damage the bank, it still resulted in the loss of a substantial amount of money. There is a need for continued awareness and increase preventative measures in order to protect against future fraud within banking organizations.

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