A Massachusetts banker has been sentenced to three years and five months in prison for embezzling $1.6 million from his longtime employer.

Peter Zabek, former treasurer and vice president at South Adams (Mass.) Savings Bank, in August admitted stealing nearly $300,000 from a certificate of deposit in the name of a local church group. He also confessed to a 10-year check-kiting scheme in which he would write unauthorized checks from the bank and deposit them into personal accounts.

The missing funds were uncovered by an auditing system installed in the bank early last year. Mr. Zabek, 58, had worked at South Adams for 30 years before resigning in April 1997.

In handing down the sentence last week, a federal judge in Springfield, Mass., also ordered Mr. Zabek to pay full restitution to the $135 million- asset thrift.

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