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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Embezzlement Scheme at Alabama Credit Union Nets Probation

Two of three former employees have been sentenced for participating in a scheme that embezzled more than $61,000 from the $65 million Valley Credit Union in Tuscumbia, Ala.

Tonya M. Payne was sentenced to two years’ probation on one count of bank larceny at U.S District Court in Florence, Ala., on Sept. 6. She was employed at the credit union as an accounting clerk, according to court records. On Aug. 30, Stacey Marie Mathes, also was placed on two years of probation on one count of bank larceny. She worked at the cooperative as a loan officer.

Beth Ann Ledbetter, a  former branch manager, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 22 on one count of bank larceny.

The three employees pleaded guilty earlier for their involvement in the embezzlement scheme. They also paid full restitution of $61,666 to Valley CU in September 2012, court documents show.

Between Aug. 1, 2001 and Aug. 12, 2012, Payne, Mathes and Ledbetter wrote checks from their checking accounts to make payments on their credit union loan accounts, but the checks were never posted or cleared, according to court documents.

On other occasions, no checks were written, presented or cleared, yet the employees still had payments credited to their Valley CU loan accounts, the documents showed.

The credits to Payne’s, Mathes’ and Ledbetter’s loan accounts were covered by other Valley CU members’ account deposits. Court papers state the other members’ deposits were held before being presented to Valley CU’s money market account at First Metro Bank. However, other members’ deposits were posted to their accounts without delay.

According to court documents, Valley CU deposits to its money market account at First Metro Bank were not made on a daily basis and the sporadic nature of the deposits facilitated the wrongful posting of the checks. There was no loss to other members’ accounts, but the loss affected Valley CU’s money market account at First Metro Bank, court records show.

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