NCUA bans six former credit union employees, including CEO

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The NCUA said Tuesday it has banned six former credit union employees, including a CEO, operations manager and loan processor, from participating in the affairs of any federally insured financial institution.

Joan Brown, who stole more than $ 1 million to keep her management company and the six credit unions it served afloat, began her sentence Aug. 23 in a minimum security federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut , at the age of 81.

In April 2016, the NCUA closed six Philadelphia-area credit unions due to their insolvency. Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania-based Service Center for Credit Unions Inc., which Brown co-founded with three others in the 1980s, provided these credit unions with management services, including accounting services.

From 2010 until 2016, Brown embezzled over $ 1 million, which was taken from the accounts of Cardozo Lodge Federal Credit Union, OPS Employees Federal Credit Union, Chester Upland School Employees Federal Credit Union, Triangle Interests Federal Credit Union, Electrical Inspectors Federal Credit Union, and Servco Federal Credit Union.

A Philadelphia federal judge sentenced Brown in May to three years and five months in prison and five years on probation. She was also ordered to pay $ 1,016,900 in restitution.

Its expected release date is July 21, 2024, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Angela Domingo, former director of credit union operations for the CU $ 391 million Hawaii Federal Credit Union in Hilo, who told federal investigators her embezzlement was “like silly and funny,” said began his two-and-a-half-year sentence on July 14. at the establishment of the Federal Bureau of Corrections in Honolulu.

She admitted to taking small sums of money ranging from $ 4,000 to $ 8,000 from the safe and cashier drawers for over three years and depositing the money into the accounts of her husband, her husband. daughter, niece and nephew. She has lost track of how many times she has done this, according to court documents.

Initially, when asked if she stole the funds, Domingo said, “I know it’s not funny. I’m sorry, that’s like silly funny, ”according to federal investigators.

In November 2017, a CU Hawaii senior internal auditor contacted federal authorities to report a large cash flow discrepancy at the Hilo branch following a surprise cash audit.

This audit was carried out immediately after an employee saw Domingo putting money from the safe in his pocket on October 31, 2017, said James Takamine, president and CEO of CU Hawaii.

At a sentencing hearing in May, a federal judge also ordered him to pay $ 328,073 in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release following his release from prison on August 2, 2023.

While Gabriela Bibriesca worked as a loan processor for the $ 177 million Santa Cruz Community Credit Union, she was allegedly behind fraudulent COVID-19 loans from November 19, 2020 to June 2020, according to the NCUA. The California credit union lost $ 13,500.

Because Bibriesca violated the credit union’s lending policies, she was fired.

The NCUA said Bibriesca neither admits nor denies these facts. The independent agency did not say whether his suspected fraud had been reported to law enforcement authorities.

Veronica Mauga, a former $ 334 million Hawaii Central Federal Credit Union cashier in Honolulu, allegedly withdrew funds from “multiple member accounts” and spent the money for her own use, according to the NCUA. She also allegedly stole money from her cashier’s drawer and falsified her cash drawer count to conceal the true amount in the drawer, the NCUA alleged.

The federal agency did not say how much money Muga allegedly stole or whether his theft had been reported to law enforcement authorities. The former cashier neither admitted nor denied the NCUA’s findings.

Clarissa Johnson, a $ 584 million Northland Area Federal Credit Union cashier in Alpena, Michigan, allegedly withdrew funds from a member’s sharing account, according to the NCUA.

Although the federal agency did not say how much Johnson stole from the credit union in 2020, she pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one count of conspiracy to commit theft in the 34th Circuit Court. County of Ogemaw in April 2021, the NCUA said. Court records were not publicly available online. In August 2020, another former cashier, Bethann Kraenzlein, who worked at the Northland Area Federal Credit Union ($ 584 million, Alpena, Michigan), was banned by the NCUA for stealing more than $ 10,000 from the accounts of members.

Cristal Santiago, a former employee of the $ 261 million North Jersey Federal Credit Union in Totowa, New Jersey, allegedly withdrew funds from “multiple member accounts” and kept those funds for her own use.

The NCUA did not say how much Santiago allegedly stole, when it stole the funds, or whether the alleged theft was reported to law enforcement authorities.

Santiago neither admitted nor denied the NCUA’s findings.

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