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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Las Vegas couple accused of embezzling $1.2 million pleads guilty from credit union

A Las Vegas couple pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of embezzling $1.2 million from a California credit union and filing a false income tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Mireya Guadalupe Gonzalez, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling funds from Sharebuilders Federal Credit Union, a federally insured credit union in Northridge, Calif. In addition, Mireya and her husband, Jorge Luis Gonzalez, 35, each pleaded guilty to one count of subscribing to false income tax returns.
A joint investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation unit in Los Angeles and the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that between January 2005 and March 2007, Mireya worked as the manager of Sharebuilders FCU, and had access to computerized records and the ability to authorize transfers between accounts, according to her plea agreement.
Mireya Gonzalez allegedly identified several accounts that were inactive or had minimal funds on deposit and electronically transferred funds to a joint checking account with her husband and two accounts that were in her children’s names, according to IRS investigators. She also deposited funds from the general ledger accounts of Sharebuilders FCU to the family accounts, investigators said.
The embezzled money was used to buy personal items such as jewelry, automobiles and luxury items, officials said.
The withdrawals from the dormant accounts created large negative balances. Mireya Gonzalez allegedly covered up the fraudulent deposits to the Gonzalez accounts by changing names and numbers assigned to the dormant accounts, transferring balances to the dormant accounts from other accounts and providing false information to auditors hired by Sharebuilders FCU.
The National Credit Union Administration Board seized Sharebuilders FCU in April 2007 due to insolvency.
Mireya and Jorge Gonzalez failed to report the embezzled income on their joint tax returns, officials said. According to Mireya Gonzalez’s plea agreement, she and her husband didn’t report $676,000 in income for 2005, $338,000 for 2006 and $150,000 for 2007.
Mireya Gonzalez faces a possible maximum sentence of 33 years in federal prison and fines up to $1.1 million. In addition, she will be required to pay full restitution to Sharebuilders FCU and the IRS. The amount will be determined before sentencing.
Jorge Gonzalez faces a possible maximum sentence of three years in federal prison and fines up to $100,000. Both are to be sentenced Sept. 26 by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee.

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