Houston, Texas – Authorities are on the lookout for a Houston bank teller who allegedly embezzled $180,000 from an 86-year-old customer over a period of five months. Cecilia Hope Brown, the former teller, had developed a close relationship with the victim, who considered her like a daughter. Brown now faces charges of aggregate theft from an elderly person, a second-degree felony.
The investigation began when the elderly customer noticed that her Frost Bank IRA account had dwindled down to only $1.50 despite previously holding $180,000. The victim, who had only granted access to her account to Cecilia, reported the suspicious activity to the Houston Police Department’s Financial Crimes Division. Bank records revealed six unauthorized withdrawals between February and July, averaging over $23,000 per transaction.
Further examination uncovered discrepancies in the victim’s signature on the withdrawal slips, with some containing Brown’s own signature. The victim also stated that Brown did not have permission to make withdrawals from her account. Surveillance video footage confirmed Brown’s involvement, capturing moments of her taking stacks of cash from the vault and concealing them beneath papers before leaving the bank with boxes from the counter.
Brown’s supervisor, unaware of her illicit activities, confronted her about the withdrawals after the victim came forward. Brown claimed to have taken the money to the victim’s vehicle during each transaction, but surveillance footage failed to support her account. Following the discovery, the bank placed Brown on administrative leave.
Frost Bank, where the theft occurred, is cooperating with law enforcement and has reimbursed the victim for the missing funds. There is an arrest warrant out for Brown, and police are asking the public to provide any information that could help them locate her. Crime Stoppers may pay up to $5,000 for tips that lead to Brown’s arrest. Tipsters can remain anonymous by calling 713-222-TIPS or using the Crime Stoppers mobile app.
Authorities are determined to hold Brown accountable for her actions, given the breach of trust and the vulnerability of the victim. Investigations into the case are ongoing, seeking further evidence to build a strong prosecution against the former bank teller.