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Banker Admits Guilt in Embezzling $60,000 to Spend on TikTok



A Hanford woman pleaded guilty to stealing from customers to spend on TikTok. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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A South Valley banker who was accused of stealing $60,000 from her credit union customers to spend on TikTok has pleaded guilty.

Federal authorities accused Esther Olson, 49 of Hanford, of making several unauthorized withdrawals from customers — reported by Credit Union Times as the Tulare branch of Educational Employees Credit Union. Olson had been an employee since 2005 and was promoted to assistant branch manager in 2019.

An FBI agent believed Olson stole the money to promote her TikTok account with thousands of followers, and to send money to her boyfriend.

Esther Olson (LinkedIn)

Bank records examined by the FBI showed Olson spent the money on the social media site. Through TikTok, she met and dated a Texas man. She allegedly sent him “thousands of dollars and visited Texas on several occasions,” using cash she stole from victims’ accounts, the criminal complaint said.

As a result of a plea deal Olson pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to one count of embezzlement. She also agreed to pay restitution up to $65,000.

Her sentencing — up to 30 years in prison — will be up to Judge Ana de Alba and is scheduled for March 4, 2024.

Olson declined to comment through a representative.

Stole From Four Victims

In the federal criminal complaint, a customer became suspicious in September 2022 and contacted the bank about unauthorized cash withdrawals totaling $35,000. There were three other victims.

When confronted by bank officials about why customers would withdraw so much, Olson claimed one of the victims said she was remodeling. Olson also told co-workers, according to the complaint, that she knew she was “done” when the credit union started investigating.

Olson quit her job in September 2022, one day after being contacted by the credit union.

The credit union contacted the FBI in November 2022 on suspicions that Olson embezzled the money from June through August 2022. The FBI arrested Olson in May 2023.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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