A former CBS Employees Federal Credit Union manager has admitted that he embezzled more than $40 million from his employer over two decades. The 62-year-old man entered his guilty plea to embezzlement charges on May 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. He faces the prospect of being sent to prison for up to 30 years when he is sentenced on Sept. 16. He has been held in federal custody since March because U.S. attorneys believe that he is a flight risk and poses an economic threat to the community.
According to court documents, the man stole the money by forging the signatures of credit union members on checks made out to himself or by transferring credit union funds into his personal bank account on the internet. He then falsified credit union records to conceal his activities and make the institution appear profitable. Prosecutors say his embezzlement was the primary reason the National Credit Union Administration determined the Studio City-based institution to be insolvent and ordered its liquidation.
The man admits that he used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included frequent flights on private jets and homes in Mexico, Nevada, and California. Prosecutors say he also used the funds to start and run a coffee business in Reno. The scheme was uncovered when a credit union member called for an audit after discovering a check for $35,000 made out to the man.
Cases involving white-collar crimes rarely go to trial because the most compelling evidence often consists of documents that are difficult to explain to juries. However, federal prosecutors work under great pressure and may be willing to reduce penalties significantly to resolve cases quickly. This is why experienced criminal defense attorneys could suggest pursuing a negotiated settlement aggressively when the evidence against their clients is overwhelming.
Source: The Studio City Patch, “Ex-CBS Credit Union Manager Pleads Guilty to $40M Embezzlement”, Mark Nero, May 20, 2019