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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Former credit union teller admits embezzling from customer accoun

An Idaho Falls woman pleaded guilty Friday to one count of embezzlement by a credit union employee after she admitted to taking about $23,000 from customers’ accounts at an Idaho Falls Westmark Credit Union branch.
      The charge Virginia Mecham, 40, faces is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, a maximum fine of $1 million and up to three years of supervised release. According to U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson, the suit was filed in United States District Court in Pocatello on January 31, 2013 after several customers contacted the credit union to inquire about unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts. After examining credit union records, it was determined that all of the customers’ accounts were handled by Mecham, a credit union teller.
     Mecham admitted she embezzled the money and that she spent it on various personal expenses, according to the plea agreement. She has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $23,625.
     The sentencing date is set for April 30 before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Pocatello.
    The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
     This announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s described as the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. 
    Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes, enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities and addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. 
    Over the past three fiscal years, justice department officials have filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants,  including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. 

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