Woman pleads guilty to financial theft; owes credit union more than $1 million
A former loan officer and branch manager for the IAM Community Federal Credit Union pleaded guilty Monday to financial institution theft and has agreed she owes about $1.5 million in restitution.
Jennifer Arnette entered the plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Montgomery.
Arnette waived her right to be indicted pursuant to a guilty plea based on a federal information filed recently in federal court. As part of her guilty plea, Arnette admitted to several means of embezzling and misapplying funds from the credit union while she worked there until March of 2013.
According to court documents, Arnette admitted to the following actions:
- Using her position to manipulate credit scores to authorize approximately 170 automobile loan applications, causing the credit union to issue loans beyond the credit unions accepted level of risk.
- Approving approximately 64 automobile loans wherein she inflated the value of the automobiles by listing premium options that never existed, including a premium engine, sports package, upgraded body type, theft recovery system and others. Approximately 22 of the loans were manipulated to inflate the value of the automobiles more than $5,000 each. The fraud caused IAM to issue automobile loans without sufficient collateral.
- Unilaterally increasing her personal loan limit and falsely making it appear the credit union CEO authorized the increase.
- Stealing $9,393.35 from a deceased credit union member by transferring funds from the deceased member’s account to another member’s account, then ultimately to Arnette’s personal account at another institution.
- Unlawfully withdrawing $80,000 from the IAM cash account.
The plea agreement indicates the amount of restitution owed if $1.1 million to IAM Community Federal Credit Union and $386,589.99 to CUNA Mutual Group.
The plea agreement also indicates that Arnette’s sentencing range increases significantly because the offense involved a theft of between $550,000 and $1.5 million and because the means used to execute the theft were significant and because her position at the credit union was considered a position of trust.
However, Arnette is due for a reduction in sentencing range for cooperating with the investigation and pleading to the offense. She can also request a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines from the judge at sentencing.
A sentencing date has not been set.
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