From Staff Reports
JEFFERSON COUNTY – Federal prosecutors have charged a Harpersville man with stealing nearly $200,000 in quarters, while working for Brink’s Company armored transport service. The charges were announced on Tuesday by U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger C. Stanton.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Stephen Lancaster Dennis, 49, with one count of bank theft for stealing $196,000 belonging to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta while he worked as a money processing manager for Brink’s at its Birmingham branch in early 2014. Dennis has entered an agreement with the government to plead guilty to the charge and repay $196,000 to Brink’s. The armored service already has reimbursed the Federal Reserve Bank for the loss.
“This defendant may have thought he had quite a haul when he took nearly $200,000 in quarters from the Federal Reserve’s coin storage at Brink’s, but now he carries a heavier load. He must repay the money and face a federal sentence,” Vance said.
“What Mr. Dennis may have thought was a nickel and dime theft was, in the end, the equivalent of a major bank heist,” Stanton said. “Now, he will be a convicted felon who must repay all the stolen money.”
According to the charging document and Dennis’ plea agreement, he carried out the theft as follows:
Brink’s stored U.S. currency and coin belonging to its customers, including the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, at Brink’s facility in Birmingham. As a money processing manager at the facility, Dennis had access to the Federal Reserve Coin Inventory. As part of that inventory, quarters were stored in ballistic bags, each containing $50,000. The bags were stored on skids inside Brink’s Coin Room.
An April 2014 audit of the Federal Reserve Coin Inventory revealed that four of the ballistic bags contained beads and only $1,000 in quarters. The quarters were placed so they would be visible through a plastic window in the neck of each bag.
An investigation revealed that on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, not a scheduled workday for Dennis, he entered Brink’s and collected four empty skids and four empty ballistic bags, which he filled with beads. He then placed the skids and the bags inside the coin room. Between Jan. 1, 2014, and Feb. 20, 2014, his last day of employment at Brink’s, Dennis stole the 784,000 quarters totaling $196,000.
The maximum penalty for bank theft is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry Cornelius is prosecuting.