Another ex-Bridgeport bank worker pleads guilty, suggested fudging docs ‘with scissors and copier’

Jane Iriondo is now the fourth person to plead guilty in connection with the $66 million embezzlement scheme at Washington Federal Bank for Savings. The bank was central to the trial of Patrick Daley Thompson.

SHARE Another ex-Bridgeport bank worker pleads guilty, suggested fudging docs ‘with scissors and copier’
Jane Tran Iriondo walks inside the Dirksen Federal Building in the Loop, Thursday morning, March 4, 2021, where she and nine others were arraigned.

Jane Tran Iriondo on Tuesday admitted helping Washington Federal Bank for Savings President John F. Gembara and others embezzle money by fudging the books to cover up the fraud.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

A woman who worked for years as a teller and secretary for the now-defunct Bridgeport bank central to ex-Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson’s trial admitted Tuesday that she helped falsify documents there, even suggesting it be done “with scissors and copier.”

Jane Iriondo is the fourth person to plead guilty in connection with the $66 million embezzlement scheme at Washington Federal Bank for Savings. Former bank employees Alicia Mandujano and Cathy Torres have also pleaded guilty, and so has former bank vice president James Crotty.

The investigation into the bank has so far led to charges against 15 people in all, including Thompson. Another member of that group, William Kowalski, admitted in January that he helped embezzle money from the bank but struck a deal with prosecutors rather than pleading guilty.

Iriondo pleaded guilty Tuesday to a conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, admitting she spent a decade helping bank president John F. Gembara and others embezzle money by fudging the books to cover up the fraud.

For example, in June 2013, Iriondo emailed a fraudulently altered appraisal to Torres and Crotty during an examination by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. She wrote to her colleagues that she could not fix the “supplemental addendum” pages, though.

“Those will need to be done with scissors and copier,” the email said. “The interior photos are fixed.”

Mandujano testified during Thompson’s trial, telling jurors he picked up payments he received from the bank in Gembara’s office.

A federal jury would go on to find Thompson guilty of cheating on his taxes and lying to regulators about $219,000 he received from Washington Federal between 2011 and 2014.

The bank was then shut down in December 2017, days after Gembara was found dead in the $1 million Park Ridge home of bank customer Marek Matczuk, who also has been charged in connection with the bank’s failure and is awaiting trial.

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