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Former banker pleads guilty to fraud charge

A former bank manager charged with approving fake loan applications of more than $1-million to pay off earlier fake loans _ and spending $232,000 on herself _ pleaded guilty Tuesday to bank fraud.

Kathryn Del Calvo, former branch manager of SunBank in Miami Lakes, pleaded guilty to a single federal count of bank fraud brought following an investigation of her loan portfolio by the FBI.

Del Calvo was released on $5,000 personal surety bond. U.S. District Court Judge Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. set sentencing for May 4.

She faces a maximum of 30 years in prison, followed by three to five years of supervised release, a possible fine of up to $1-million and $1,031,000 _ the total amount obtained through loans to fictitious customers _ in restitution.

According to court records, Del Calvo arranged for a series of loans using the names of real customers at her bank branch but kept the money to pay off questionable loans in her loan portfolio.

During that same period, from 1987 through late 1989, Del Calvo also diverted $232,475 of the illegally obtained money for her personal use.

From April 1990 until October 1992, Del Calvo recommended approval to a senior loan officer of three more fraudulent loans, totaling $1,031,000, which she then used to pay off the earlier fraudulently obtained loans.