Peggy S. Teel, a former head teller for the $112 millionBear Paw Credit Union, pleaded guilty Aug. 18 to embezzling$129,409 from the Harve, Mont.-based credit union over nineyears.

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A police investigation found Teel had been stealing from BearPaw's ATMs, teller cash drawers, a lobby coin vault and the creditunion vault, according to court documents.

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In 2007, executives began having unusual cash shortages at twoATMs at a local health center and a convenience store on a NativeAmerican reservation.

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At first, executives did not suspect an employee was stealingfrom the ATMs, and thought it might be a mechanical or softwareproblem. So they asked service technicians to inspect the ATMs, whofound the machines were working properly and advised executives anemployee may be stealing.

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It wasn't until Feb. 3, 2016, however, when Gerry Veis, BearPaw's EVP, reported the employee theft to the Harve PoliceDepartment.

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When confronted by police investigators, Teel admitted to theembezzlement but had no explanation as to why she committed thecrime. She also said she did not need the money.

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She told police that she used the money to buy things for herkids and grandkids.

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According to the police investigation, cash shortages fromteller drawers and the vault went back to 2003 and 2004,respectively.

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But Teel admitted to embezzlement that occurred from Jan. 1,2007 to Feb. 8, 2016, according to a plea agreement withprosecutors.

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The plea agreement requires Teel to pay restitution of$68,279.

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She is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 17 by Hill CountyDistrict Court Judge Daniel Boucher.

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