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Bank Manager Sentenced for Embezzlement

19 February 2002

MICHIGAN --As reported by the Muskegon Chronicle: "A bank manager who embezzled $1.56 million and lost it at casinos was sentenced to nearly three years in federal custody Friday by a judge who rejected arguments that the man deserved a break because of a gambling disorder.

"`One doesn't leave one's brain at the door when they come in' to analyze the case, said U.S. Chief District Judge Robert Holmes Bell, who noted the free meals and free rooms enjoyed by Robert W. Schaefer during 41/2 years of casino visits.

"Nonetheless, Bell did give him credit for confessing his crime and helping the FBI figure out how he embezzled such a large amount as manager of a Comerica Bank in Battle Creek. Schaefer was sentenced to 33 months, the low end of the federal guideline.

"…He and his wife traveled to casinos in Mount Pleasant, Detroit, Ontario and Indiana to play slot machines. He started with quarter machines but advanced to games called Blazing Sevens and Sizzling Sevens -- and lost it all.

"…Bell is recommending that Schaefer be sent to a low-security federal camp or halfway house.

"He must repay the money and serve 300 hours of community service.

"…Bell said the impact of the crime and `idiotic' gambling extends beyond Schaefer. He said Comerica has probably lost the trust of some customers…"

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