Fresno, California - Sylvia Ochoa, 35, of Selma, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd to 18 months in prison for embezzlement from a financial institution, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, Ochoa was the branch manager at the Bank of America’s Fresno branch at 4445 E. Tulare Street. On multiple occasions between March 2013 and October 2013, Ochoa prevented other bank employees from counting the cash in the vault located in the branch. She would then enter the vault after the branch was closed and remove cash to spend on personal expenses. Ochoa also made fraudulent counter credits and transfers into accounts over which she had control, including two accounts she opened in the name of her boyfriend. The money was then spent on personal expenses and items, including a truck, casino gambling, and expensive handbags. Ochoa embezzled at least $165,850 from Bank of America during this time.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fresno Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael G. Tierney prosecuted the case.