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BOUNTIFUL — A former Zions Bank manager who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $500,000 from a customer so he could buy a house is facing more charges for allegedly forging a letter to the judge in an attempt to get a more lenient sentence.
Daniel Scott Frischknecht, 33, of Bountiful, pleaded guilty in February in federal court to transferring $70,000 on Feb. 9, 2017, and $495,591 on May 8, 2017, from the customer's account to his for a total of $565,591, using a third-party line of credit.
He was scheduled to be sentenced in May and faced a potential 10 years in federal prison. In preparation for sentencing, prosecutors recommended "the low end of the guidelines, or 33 months of imprisonment, followed by a three-year term of supervised release," according to court documents.
The U.S. attorney for Utah noted that Frischknect was raised in a good, stable home and served an LDS mission when he was 19.
"These facts make Mr. Frischknecht’s deliberate theft from Zions bank wholly gratuitous. His desire to live beyond his means came at the expense of those who trusted him, his employer and his family," prosecutors wrote in court documents.
Frischknecht worked for Zions Bank from 2004-2017 and was manager of the Bountiful branch for the final three years of his employment.
"Not surprisingly, the victim of this offense, Zions Bank, feels as if Mr. Frischknecht 'ruthlessly violated' his position of trust placed in him as a branch manager of Zions Bank. He utilized his knowledge of banking procedures in order to conceal and delay the discovery of his illegal transactions," court document state.
Frischknecht's attorneys, in their letter to the court prior to sentencing, said he worked hard to fix his mistake after he was caught and "completely repaid Zions, including its attorneys’ fees, costs and interest."
"He has acknowledged his error and the harm it has caused, and he has expressed great remorse for his bad behavior. He has said: 'I used money without permission to acquire a home. I am sorry for this mistake I made and greatly regret my actions. I fully accept the responsibilities of my actions.' In addition to this remorse, Daniel is committed never to repeat these errors," according to court documents. "The likelihood of recidivism is remote at best. Daniel has actively sought to correct his wrongs. He has been a model pretrial supervisee."
Defense attorneys requested their client be sentenced to probation.
In addition to letters from attorneys, several letters from family members were submitted to Judge Dale Kimball asking for leniency in sentencing.
But the letter that caught the judge's attention was one allegedly written by a home warranty service that Frischknecht was working for prior to sentencing.
"We hired him on as a recruiter, we have never (had) someone on our team who has been 100 percent dedicated to hiring new employees," the letter states.
The letter goes on to say that Frischknecht had written the employee handbook, developed salary guidelines for each position in the company and that the company's revenue had gone up 35 percent since he was hired.
Prosecutors say the letter was actually written by Frischknecht himself.
On June 13, he was charged in federal court with obstruction of justice by trying to influence the court and identification fraud. Because of his new charge, sentencing for his embezzlement conviction was delayed.
Kimball set a deadline of Monday for a plea deal to be reached in the fraud case. Otherwise, he is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 20. Sentencing in the money laundering case is now scheduled for Aug. 13.