A former Naples bank manager who stole more than $200,000 avoided jail time.
Collier Circuit Judge Frank Baker sentenced Siri Siriphanthong, 33, to three years of probation and two years house arrest as a condition of probation. She avoided the stiffest punishment, 30 years in state prison, by repaying almost $160,000.
“Looking back now, that embarrassment is nothing compared to the shame of compromising my values, integrity and ethics,” Siriphanthong wrote in a speech to Baker, which she didn’t read in court. “I had never been arrested. I never abused drugs. I never misappropriated funds. I went from prodigy child to completely disappointing my parents.”
While working at Bank of America on U.S. 41 North, Siriphanthong took out $212,459.74 in credit lines using five wealthy customers’ names. She later changed two of the customers names and provided fake addresses for them so mail would go to her.
Since her arrest, she began paying restitution by working three jobs. The $52,995.80 remaining is expected to be repaid at a rate of $1,000 per month.
If Siriphanthong, who now lives in Lee County, repays the debt sooner, her probation sentence could be reduced.
Sirphanthong said she acted out of anxiety, panic, and fear of not being able to provide for her growing family; before her arrest on May 13, 2009, she had given birth to a son. She and her husband, who was unemployed, already had three other children to provide for and the bills were mounting. Agoston said she took the money as an investment, fully intending to repay it before anyone noticed. He wouldn’t disclose what the investment was.
Last September, she changed her plea from not guilty to no contest and was offered a plea by Assistant State Attorney Jim Molenaar for 15 years in prison and 15 years’ probation.
“The judge recognized her ability and desire to pay the restitution,” James Chandler, one of Siriphanthong’s attorneys, said about Friday’s sentence. “She earned the money back and has a history of paying more than expected.”