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CU System briefs (12/20/2010)
* SACRAMENTO, Calif. (12/21/10)--The leader in a credit-repair fraud ring that bilked banks, credit unions, credit card companies and car dealerships of $1.5 million to $2 million was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, plus five years of supervised release by a U.S. District judge Friday. Jerry Van Le, 31, of Stockton, Calif., had pleaded guilty to multiple counts of mail, wire and credit application fraud on Feb. 5 (Targeted News Service Dec. 17). Prosecutors said Le worked with individuals throughout the Sacramento area to create fake identities for himself and his customers so they could establish fraudulent lines of credit. He used his finance industry contacts to help build fraudulent credit histories. He furnished fraudulent paperwork including bogus pay slips, W-2 forms, letters from nonexistent employers and fake driver's licenses. Five other persons in the ring have pleaded guilty to making false statements on loan and credit applications. Four have received prison terms while the fifth is set for sentencing on Feb. 18 … * ANCHORAGE, Alaska (12/21/10)--Vicki Lynn Weidenhof, 46, former chief operating officer of Alps FCU, Sitka, Alaska, was sentenced to two years in prison plus five years of supervised released for a thrift and credit union embezzlement totaling $187,349. The sentence was rendered by a U.S. District judge in Anchorage. Weidenhof allegedly stole the funds from the credit union's general ledger accounts and deposited them in her personal account and into others' accounts during a two-year period, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska (Targeted News Service Dec. 17) … * PORTLAND, Ore.(12/21/10)--It was a joke that turned serious, said one of two college students charged with robbing a credit union twice. Brittany Sykes, 23, a nursing student, and Emma Westhusing, 19, a college student, were arraigned Friday on charges they took $1,370 in cash Dec. 6 from Rivermark Community CU's Clackamas office. They also were indicted with taking a similar amount from the credit union's Gresham office on Oct. 18 (Associated Press Newswires Dec. 18). Sykes allegedly told a local newspaper the idea was a running joke that turned serious after they began researching robberies … * PORTLAND and STAYTON, Ore. (12/21/10)--Two Oregon credit unions have donated funds for tornado relief to victims of a Dec. 14 tornado that destroyed or extensively damaged a number of businesses and homes in the small community of Aumsville, Ore. Unitus Community CU, Portland, has 131 members in the community of 3,500 and Unitus representatives contacted each of them to find out if they needed aid. As a result, the credit union presented a $10,000 check for disaster relief to the community. "We wanted to do something quickly to show our members and citizens of the town that we care about them and wanted to offer financial help," said Patricia Smith, United president/CEO. Also, North Santiam Community CU, Stayton, a branch of NW Preferred FCU, Tigard, said it is donating $2,500 for the relief fund. "We have a number of friends and members who live and work in Aumsville," said Tracy Jones, vice president of branch operations. "It was the least we could do." … * OLD TOWN, Maine (12/21/10)--George Lozier Jr., a longtime board member of Penobscot County FCU, Old Town, Maine, died Dec. 12, according to the Maine Credit Union League (Weekly Update Dec. 17). Lozier held a variety of positions with the credit union, the league said. He was remembered as a "tireless and dedicated" volunteer who often was in the credit union lobby with a smile and greetings for other members …


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