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.