METHUEN — A former Methuen bank branch manager is serving two years behind bars after more than $235,000 was reported missing by customers of the People’s United Bank at 148 Lowell St.
Veronica Calixto, 37, of 194 Brook St., Haverhill, pleaded guilty to 19 counts of larceny of property valued over $250 and is currently serving two years in prison at MCI Framingham, according to Lawrence District Court records.
Following her release, Calixto was sentenced to five years probation with restitution to be determined. A restitution hearing is scheduled for Jan. 21, 2014.
Calixto was previously a vice president for Riverbank and member of the Methuen and Salem, N.H. Rotary Club. She also had breast cancer in 2008, drawing support from Methuen community officials, according to a media report.
Bank security and local police started investigating Calixto after numerous customers reported unexplained and unauthorized debits to their People’s United accounts in the spring of 2012.
Conversely, a number of cash deposits were made to Calixto’s personal account with People’s, according to a police report.
When first interviewed by a bank investigator, Calixto denied any wrongdoing and blamed accounting errors and coincidences with her cash deposits.
She was placed on paid leave while the bank continued an internal investigation, according to a police report.
In May of 2012, Calixto was re-interviewed by a People’s Bank investigator and at this this time “she confessed to embezzling” $9,530 using three unauthorized withdrawals, according to a report by Methuen Police Det. John DeLano.
Calixto also told the investigator there may “have been additional fraudulent withdrawals” on one account that she couldn’t recall, according to the report.
The bank investigator said Calixto “told him she had taken the money because her husband had become sick and they needed the money for medical bills,’ according to DeLano’s report.
Calixto was asked to fill out a written report and she was fired from People’s Bank at that time.
Then, in June of 2012, a bank customer reported $209,800 missing from his account from March 2011 to June 2012.
The bank investigator interviewed Calixto again, this time with her lawyer present. Calixto denied the theft of $209,800, according to DeLano’s report.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Nasson. Calixto’s attorney, Kristen Bonavita of Newburyport, declined comment for this article.
Police said People’s United Bank reimbursed its customers for their reported losses. A bank representative did not return a phone message seeking comment for this article.
Calixto was arraigned on Nov. 8, 2012 and sentenced on Aug. 26, 2013, according to court records.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.