Teller pleads not guilty

Published 3:33 am Monday, August 11, 2008

By By Lisa Tindell – news editor
Mescilla Lawson, a former Bank of Brewton employee, will be facing the judge and jury next month as a trial gets underway in a Mobile federal court.
Mescilla Lawson pleaded not guilty to the nine federal charges against her claiming acts of embezzlement, making false reports and bank fraud.
Following her plea, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bert Milling Jr. set a September date for a trial to begin. Lawson remains free pending the trial date.
The nine-count indictment handed down by a grand jury includes three counts of false entry into bank reports and statements involving transfers of $706,000 between the Bank of Brewton and SouthTrust Bank.
Other charges claim Lawson used a scheme to maintain and use credit card accounts under false and fictitious names. Names used in the schemes included Becky Black, Gary B. Dawson, Earlene W. Chesser and Bobby D. Chesser.
The charges also claim Lawson would obtain cash advances from the Bank of Brewton and record fraudulent payments on the credit card account.
Lawson has also been charged with receipt of mail in false and fictitious names used for the purpose of carrying out the credit card scheme.
Lawson has also been charged with the crime of making a cash advance of $1,708 on a MasterCard account belonging to Bobby D. Chesser.
Agents for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation and presented the case for prosecution to the United States Attorney's Office.
Daryl Atchison, an assistant U.S. attorney, is handling the prosecution of the case on behalf of the United States.
Lawson faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in custody and a $1 million fine.
The charges of bank fraud and theft of money by a bank employee carry the same fines and possible prison sentences.
On the charge of receiving mail in a false and fictitious name, the penalty is a maximum of five years in custody and a $250,000 fine.
Officials at The Bank of Brewton have been instructed by attorneys to make no comments concerning the case. Lawson is no longer an employee at the institution.
Lawson's attorney, Donald Briskman of Briskman and Binion, P.C. in Mobile, had not returned phone calls as of press time.

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