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Former bank employee accused of stealing hundreds of thousands

GRAND FORKS -- A former Frandsen Bank employee is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars during a 10-month period, according to a court document.

Amber Nicole Ostgard, 32, is facing charges of misapplication of entrusted property, theft, forgery and unauthorized use of personal identifying information. Three of the charges each hold maximum penalties of 20 years in prison.

An affidavit for Ostgard’s arrest said she transferred money between accounts and “exercised unauthorized control over an amount of $701,590” from March 1, 2018, until Jan. 23. She worked at the bank’s 1616 S. Washington St. branch in Grand Forks.

Ostgard forged customer signatures at least 22 separate times, totaling at least $210,000, the affidavit said. She also used personal identifying information, including names, birthdates, addresses, or social security numbers at least 11 different times, totaling nearly $182,000, according to the affidavit.

A statement from Frandsen Bank said the customers impacted have been notified and all funds were restored.

Chief Administrative Officer Karen Brekke said in a prepared statement that the bank has “rigorous audit procedures in place” which quickly discovered Ostgard’s actions. Her employment was terminated immediately, Brekke said.

“We are very surprised and saddened to learn that one of our former team members was involved in this sort of activity,” CEO Chuck Mausbach said in a press release. “We are cooperating closely with law enforcement officials who are actively pursuing the case.”

Ostgard is scheduled to enter a plea July 1.

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