BOSTON (1/19/10)--Carol Aranjo, a well-known former advocate for community development credit unions, has asked a federal appeals court to overturn her 2008 conviction on charges of fraud in connection to the failure of a credit union she led, according to court documents. Lawyers for Aranjo, former president of D. Edward Wells FCU, Springfield, Mass., presented oral arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston Jan. 4. Aranjo’s attorneys argued that the government exercised a peremptory challenge to strike the only African-American on the jury panel and that the lower court failed to compare the government’s treatment of the challenged juror with other similarly situated perspective jurors. The defense had challenged the strike. However, the prosecutor said she exercised the challenge because the prospective juror had worked at a federally funded job center with regulatory oversight serving juveniles who have been in trouble with the law. Aranjo and her husband, Alphonse Smith--who also was convicted of fraud in 2008--are African-American. Aranjo was convicted of 44 charges, including embezzlement, conspiracy to embezzle, bank fraud and filing false tax returns. She was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison in Arizona. Smith was convicted of 10 charges. He was released from prison after serving one year. D. Edward Wells FCU was closed by the National Credit Union Administration in 2003, with losses of about $3 million (News Now Sept. 26, 2008). Aranjo was chair of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions until she was removed in 1999. She left the federation in 2000.