Former Citigroup employee pleads guilty to fraud

Tamara Moon faced 120 years in federal prison for stealing from 22 clients

A former Citigroup securities representative who worked in Palo Alto pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud Tuesday (Oct. 11) and admitted to stealing $749,978 from clients, according to federal court documents.

Tamara Lanz Moon, 44, a former registered general securities representative and a sales assistant at the firm's Palo Alto branch office, stole from 22 customers, according to an indictment filed in federal court.

Moon also falsified account records and engaged in unauthorized trades in customer accounts during an 8-year period, according to federal regulators. The fraud occurred until 2008, according to the federal indictment. She targeted elderly, ill or otherwise vulnerable customers whom she believed were unable to monitor their accounts. Moon's victims included her father, authorities said.

"I stole money from client accounts by creating false letters of authorization and transferred their money into my personal accounts," Moon wrote in her Oct. 7 plea application to the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined the bank's parent group, Citigroup Global Markets, $500,000 on Aug. 9 for its lax oversight of Moon. The regulatory agency said Citigroup failed to detect or investigate a series of "red flags" that should have alerted the firm to the improper use of customer funds.

According to a disciplinary action report, Moon used the money to remodel her home and to make speculative investments in real estate. Citigroup has compensated customers for their losses, regulators said.

Moon, formerly of Redwood City and now a Fremont resident, has most recently worked as a clerk at a CVS Pharmacy, according to her plea application. Under the plea deal she faces a maximum of 20 years in prison with three years of court supervision upon her release and at least $260,000 in restitution or as determined by the court. U.S. District Judge William Alsup signed the plea order. Moon is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 17, 2012.

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Like this comment
Posted by restitution
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm

If she stole $750K, why does she only have to pay $260K restitution? Does she get to keep the other $490K?

And why doesn't the paper print the mug shots of white collar criminals, like they always do with street criminals?

Like this comment
Posted by Frank Booth
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Restitution, 'cuase she did it with a pen and not a gun.

Like this comment
Posted by daniel
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm

This is why we have the OWS phenomenon. City Group Global Markets is fined $500,000, which is like fining Bill Gates a penny for running a red light. What incentive do Wall Street firms have to monitor their brokers and do any due diligence? Wall Street is pretty much above the law. They crippled the US economy, got bailed out by the American people and not one person went to jail.

Like this comment
Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Until the court system starts sentancing white collar criminals to some serious time in state prisons the white collar crime will continue to pay.
White collar crimes have damaged the entire US and world economy, ruined companies, lost jobs, peoples life savings and retirement and cost people their homes, health and lives.
Truth is most people would do more time for a robbery of a few hundred dollars from a quikie mart.
Prison time sentanced should reflect damages, impact, investigation hours/costs/etc. Stealing $50.00 by physical force shouldnt be treated harsher than taking hundreds of thousands or millions from people and ruining their lives forever.
Send those Wall Street thugs to NY State prison for 30 plus years in general population!! they might think twice if that was a possibility before robbing the average joe of their hard earned money.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm

So often the thinking is that white collar criminals don't commit violent crimes, so their sentences can be lighter or in nicer places. The problem w/this is that there are often cascading results from those crimes. I understand that the criminal isn't responsible for how it cascades, but they started the cascade.

Daniel, thanks for your comments - so true!

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