Frost Bank Employee Suspected of Stealing $180,000 From Elderly Customer


HOUSTON, Texas: Bank tellers have usually worked as their institution’s in-person trustee to the consumer, especially with ATMs and remote banking.

In rare situations, tellers might form connections with their regular clients and entrust them with life-savings.

However, authorities have focused on one Houston bank employee’s contact with an 86-year-old woman as part of an alleged $180,000 theft from the victim’s savings account.

Houston Crime Stoppers made Cecilia Hope Brown’s face and alleged crime public on Friday as part of their ongoing hunt for the 29-year-old accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars over almost five months earlier this year.

According to court statements, Brown is suspected of stealing roughly $140,000.

According to a charging document, Brown developed a relationship with an elderly woman who was a frequent at the Frost Bank on Kirby Drive in the Rice Village neighborhood, to the point that the woman treated the bank employee “like a daughter.”

Brown has been charged with aggregate stealing from an elderly person, a second-degree crime.

Dropped From $180,000 to $1.50

The investigation was picked up by the Houston Police Department’s Financial Crimes Division when the suspect victim inquired as to why her $180,000 Frost Bank IRA account showed a balance of $1.50 on July 3rd.

In a charging document, the elderly lady stated she had not recently been a victim of fraud and that she had only given a bank employee called Cecilia, subsequently identified as Cecilia Hope Brown, access to her account. The elder woman also stated that she never authorized Brown to make withdrawals.

According to authorities, the victim was shown six illicit withdrawals from Feb. 21 to July 3, totaling slightly more than $23,000 for each transaction.
Furthermore, the victim supplied authorities with the bank-issued withdrawal slips, which revealed anomalies with the older woman’s signature and the existence of Brown’s own. Brown signs as a notary public on some, but mostly as an authorized trustee or custodian.

Investigators also noted that the victim’s signature on the slips did not match the one used to start the account.

She Believed That What She Was Doing Was Right

Investigators were able to figure out that Brown was the one who accessed the victim’s account. The charging document includes security video footage of each day that a transaction was made and a supervisor’s argument with an employee.

The boss told the police that she had no reason to think Brown was up to no good while she was working at Frost until the victim told them about her empty account. Criminal paperwork says that the boss looked at video that showed Brown taking money from the vault without giving it to the victim.

When Brown’s boss asked about the withdrawals, Brown said that her worker had taken the money to the victim’s car each time, which is why the older woman wasn’t seen on camera. Investigators also said that Brown’s claim is not supported by any video proof.

The charging document also says that Brown took stacks of cash from the vault, hid them under papers, walked to a teller counter, and put the cash under the counter. After that, she is seen leaving the bank with boxes from the counter.

Investigators wrote that the bank put Brown on administrative leave, but before she left, they asked her why she took out money without the victim being there.

In the charging paperwork, the boss writes, “She said she thought she was doing the right thing for the customer.”

When Eyewitness News called Frost Bank, the company said it doesn’t talk about specifics of current lawsuits. The company did say that Brown does not work for Frost, that the bank returned the victim’s lost money, and that it is helping the police with their investigation.

Again, HPD said Brown is not in jail and that she has an arrest warrant out for her.

She is described as a white woman with 180 pounds of weight, 5 feet tall, and brown eyes and hair.

Several warning signs of elder financial abuse were listed by the National Center on Elder Abuse. These include sudden changes in bank accounts, finding unpaid bills or letters from collection agencies, relatives who weren’t involved before showing up, a sudden transfer of assets or changes in account activity, and a change in spending habits or money worries.

Crime Stoppers could give you up to $5,000 if you help them find and arrest Brown. You can give information by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477), going to or using the Crime Stoppers app on your phone. All people who give tips stay private. You can get a cash prize for private tips and calls that go straight to Crime Stoppers.

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