Hanford woman admits to credit union embezzlement

Former assistant branch manager at a Tulare-based credit union pleads guilty to embezzling funds from clients to spend on TikTok

FRESNO – The clock continues to count down on the sentencing of Esther Andrade Olson, who recently admitted to stealing money from various clients of a Tulare credit union – most of which she used to spend on her TikTok account.

On Nov. 6, Olson, 49, of Hanford, pleaded guilty to embezzling over $60,000 from multiple members’ accounts at a Tulare-based credit union where she was previously employed, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced. Her initial arrest was earlier this year in June.

Olson is scheduled to be sentenced by the U.S. District Judge Ana de Alba on March 4, 2024, where she faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

According to court documents, Olson’s actions occurred while she was serving as an assistant branch manager. In her time with the credit union, she made several unauthorized withdrawals from four members’ accounts from the months of July through August in 2022; including seven withdrawals totalling up to $35,000 from one member.

When confronted by credit union officials, Olson claimed that one of the victims was “doing some remodeling,” but soon after told another employee that she was “done” and abruptly resigned from her position.

Olsen made these unauthorized cash withdrawals by bringing up the victims’ accounts while she was assisting other credit union members who were at the teller window; that way, it appeared as though she had legitimate reasons to access the credit union’s cash stores, providing her with an air of legitimacy as she accessed the credit union’s cash reserves.

According to reports from June, court documents indicate that Olsen was using some of the stolen funds to promote herself on TikTok. More recent reports indicate she spent most of the money she stole on TikTok, gifting much of the funds to an out of state individual with hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Chan Hee Chu and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Barton are prosecuting the case.

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