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Ex-bank manager charged in theft
Authorities: Took more than $28K
Deborah Stewart

A former bank branch manager in Forsyth County faces many felony charges in connection with the theft of more than $28,000, part of which came from customer accounts.

According to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, 56-year-old Deborah Stewart of Murrayville turned herself into authorities Tuesday on a warrant for her arrest issued May 14.

Stewart, who managed the First Citizens Bank of Georgia branch on Bethelview Road in west Forsyth, has been charged with three counts each of third degree forgery and identity fraud.

She also faces one count each of computer forgery, theft by taking, computer theft and computer trespass. All of the counts are felonies.

Stewart, who listed a Cumming address when booked at the jail, posted a $70,900 bond late Wednesday at the Forsyth County Detention Center.

According to Sheriff’s Investigator Frank Karic, the agency launched an investigation in January when Charles Buckner, chief executive officer and president of the Dawsonville-based bank, filed a report “after a cash-count revealed a substantial shortage at the branch.”

During the fourth-month investigation, Karic found evidence implicating Stewart in the thefts.

“In an attempt to conceal her theft,” he wrote in an e-mail, “Stewart had entered/deleted vast amounts of fraudulent data into the computerized banking records and forged the financial documents of several customers.”

The thefts reportedly occurred between October and December.

Buckner said Thursday that the investigation and arrest resulted from financial discrepancies in “a routine internal review” at the Forsyth County branch.

“No customer incurred any loss or has been financially impacted by the situation,” Buckner said.

He declined to comment further on the matter, citing the ongoing nature of the case.

The thefts occurred about four years after Stewart’s husband, Michael, won $250,000 playing the Mega Millions lottery game.

According to a Dec. 15, 2008, press release from the Georgia Lottery Corp., Michael Stewart bought the winning ticket at a Dawsonville food mart. He told lottery officials at the time that the prize would help his family, including wife Debbie.