Banker sentenced for embezzling 1.4 million

A former bank officer has been sentenced to two years in prison for embezzling funds from Southern Bancorp Bank. 42 year-old Michael J. Erickson, of Ridgeland, was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. In addition, Erickson was ordered to pay $1,462,030.31 in restitution to Southern Bancorp Bank.

On October 9th, Erickson pled guilty to a one count information charging him with embezzlement by a bank officer. The conduct in question occurred while Erickson was employed as an officer at Southern Bancorp Bank in Clarksdale. In August 2010, the United States Treasury Department invested $33,800,000 in the holding company of Southern Bancorp Bank through the Community Development Capital Initiative. As a part of his plea, Erickson admitted to using his position as a bank officer to embezzle bank funds for his own benefit and generate fraudulent loans for the benefit of himself and others.

“As evidenced by the sentencing, we will vigorously prosecute those bank employees who betray the public trust by embezzling or stealing from our financial institutions,” said U.S. Attorney William C. Lamar .

Christopher Freeze, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi, said Embezzlement at any level weakens our economic stability and undermines our financial institutions as a whole.

“We will maintain our strong relationship with the United States Attorney’s Office and partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure these types of criminals are fully investigated and prosecuted across Mississippi,” said Freeze.

“Former bank officer Michael Erickson was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for criminally defrauding Southern Bancorp, after the bank received a nearly $34 million TARP bailout,” said Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Christy Goldsmith Romero. “Instead of acting in the public trust, Erickson used his position at Southern Bancorp to steal thousands of dollars for his own personal enrichment from a commercial loan he managed. I thank the United States Attorney’s Office for Northern District of Mississippi for bringing justice in this case.”