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Posted at 03:31 PM ET, 03/04/2011

Guilty plea in $14M bank fraud case

A former Loudoun County bank manager pleaded guilty Friday to stealing $14.1 million from customers and using the money to buy houses, vehicles, a helicopter and a luxury motor home.

Linda Tribby, 42, of Lovettsville, formerly worked as a business relationship manager at Wachovia Bank in Purcellville. Starting in 2003, she allegedly convinced bank customers that the bank offered a "wealth management account" that didn't require the customer to pay taxes on account earnings, according to court documents.

But no such accounts existed and she funneled the money into her own accounts, authorities said. Tribby made fake financial statements that she mailed to her customers, showing deposits and interest earned.

She is charged with bank fraud and could face a maximum sentence of 30 years. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 3.

In a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Tribby stood Friday before Judge Liam O'Grady wearing a green prison jumpsuit with the word "prisoner" written on the back and swore under oath with French manicured nails before her hearing began.

"How do you plead?" the judge asked.

"I plead guilty, sir," she replied, her defense lawyer - Ken Troccoli, an assistant federal public defender -- by her side.

Tribby was arrested on Jan. 23 at Dulles Airport as she was coming back from a trip out West that included a visit to Las Vegas. Authorities found $30,000 in cash in Tribby's carry-on bag that she told authorities was gambling winnings, according to court documents.

Tribby gave a detailed, hand-written confession to the FBI in which she said she used the stolen funds to pay $5,000 a month in medical bills for her grandfather who had suffered a stroke, $700 a month in medical supplies for her mother, $60,000 for a caregiver for her daughter who suffered a serious medical condition, and $20,000 for a drug rehabilitation program for her niece,

Authorities said that when Tribby went to the West Coast, she had left notes to family members asking for forgiveness and written instructions with checks to pay off her mortgage and another to pay her daughter's college tuition.

Tribby wrote notes to family members saying "no one is responsible but me for this mess." In one note to her parents, she wrote, "I did this to try to help others." Another letter Tribby addressed "Dear God" said "Please forgive me of my sins. The things I have done I did without any malicious intent. ...May you forgive me. I love you. Linda."

When federal authorities searched Tribby's home and property, she was said to have had "an assortment of livestock" including exotic birds and two zebras. The animals were recently sold in a private sale, according to officials at the Loudoun County Animal Services department.

According to court documents, Tribby is required to forfeit a seven-page list of bank accounts, money, properties in New York, Virginia, Nevada and West Virginia, plus a 1947 Bell helicopter, trucks, cars, a boat and a 1992 Harley Davidson motorcycle.

var entrycat = 'Dana Hedgpeth, Financial Crimes, From the Courthouse, Loudoun'

By  |  03:31 PM ET, 03/04/2011

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