Ex-banker gets 5-year sentence for stealing customers’ money

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A former assistant manager at a central Indiana bank has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from depositors' accounts.

Sixty-five-year-old Diane Renee Bizzell said during Monday's sentencing that she stole the money from customers at a First Merchants Bank in Muncie after becoming addicted to playing the slot machines at the Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson, less than 20 miles from Muncie.

Bizzell also received five years of probation to be served after the prison sentence.

The Muncie woman pleaded guilty in August to seven counts of theft, six counts of identity deception and one count of check fraud. The thefts took place from 2010 until 2014.

A First Merchants official told the Delaware County judge that the cost to the bank and its insurance company exceeded $470,000 to replenish the victims' accounts and conducting an investigation of Bizzell's actions, The Star Press reported.

The official said new security procedures have been added to prevent similar crimes.

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