A Minnesota credit union's former chief executive officer (CEO) and president has been accused of stealing more than $2.5 million. She is therefore scheduled for an arraignment in late March on a felony charge of fraud. The arraignment will take place over five years following the credit union's financial collapse.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation began to investigate the credit union back in January of 2014. Still, the alleged fraud did not receive public exposure until early 2016. That is when authorities reportedly uncovered an embezzlement scheme in which the former executive was engaged. She allegedly diverted credit union money and deposited it into her own accounts, members' accounts and family members' or friends' accounts. In addition, she is accused of using unwitting members' accounts to develop phony loans or boost legitimate loans' balances.
Through her alleged scheme, the former executive was able to steal over $10 million from the credit union, and this major caused the credit union's collapse. According to authorities, the former executive claimed to have started embezzling during the 1990s. However, a forensic auditor could not obtain transactional documents from before 2011, as the former executive reportedly destroyed the evidence.
When people face fraud charges in Minnesota, it is within their rights to go to trial to fight these charges. They cannot be convicted if the prosecution does not prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt -- a feat that can be difficult to accomplish. However, if the prosecution's evidence appears to be strong, the defendant may opt to try to negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors instead. A plea agreement may offer the benefit of leading to lesser charges and, in turn, a lighter sentence for the accused. An attorney in either situation will strive to protect the defendant's rights and best interests during every phase of the criminal justice proceeding.