SANTA ANA - A judge today sentenced an Orange County man who served as a vice president of Farmers and Merchants Bank and was the manager of the institution's Laguna Hills branch to 41 months in federal prison for stealing nearly $2 million from a customer's account, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Matthew J. Walker, 34, of Orange, was also ordered Walker to pay just over $1.8 million in restitution.
Walker pleaded guilty to one count of theft of bank funds in November 2011, specifically admitted that he stole nearly $2 million over a 16-month period that ended in July 2010. Walker withdrew money from a line of credit in the name of a trust that held an account at Farmers and Merchants. To cover up the scheme, Walker made interest payments on the money supposedly loaned to the trust, according to Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Waier.
Walker "stole almost $2 million dollars from a client for a personal venture where he was trying 'to hit it big,'" according to a sentencing memo filed by prosecutors. "Much like gambling, [Walker] used the money on a start-up company that he was intimately involved in and where he could win or lose. Like most risky gambles, he ultimately lost it all."
The case against Walker was investigated by the FBI.