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CU System briefs (04/25/2011)
* KANSAS CITY, Mo. (4/26/11)--An Armenian residing in Colorado pleaded guilty in a federal court in Kansas City to participating in an auto loan scheme intended to defraud credit unions and other lenders by buying $229,230 worth of expensive automobiles and jet skis at Kansas City-area dealerships, said the U.S. attorney's office for the Western District of Missouri. Artur Galstyan, 33, and co-conspirators allegedly submitted falsified credit applications through the dealerships to finance the vehicles and jet skis from November 2009 to September 2010. Galstyan admitted they had no intention of making payments on the loans. They shipped the vehicles immediately to the Russian Federation, which meant credit unions and other lenders could not recover the loans' collateral. The group leased apartments and office space in Kansas City to create the illusion that they lived and worked in the city. He faces up to 20 years in prison without parole, plus a fine of up to $500,000 (Targeted News Service April 13) … * LAKE COUNTY, Fla. (4/26/11)--Nazreen Mohammed, 47, of Summerfield, Fla., was sentenced to five years in a federal prison for fraud and identity theft while she was an employee of a Lake County branch of Orlando, Fla.-based Fairwinds CU and later at a Lake County branch of the Royal Bank of Canada. She also was sentenced to three years on supervised release and ordered to make full restitution to the credit union and bank. Mohammed pleaded guilty on Nov. 22 to the crimes, which occurred from April to July 2009 at the credit union and from Nov. 5, 2009 to Jan. 7, 2010, at the bank. In both incidents, she used her employee status to access member/customer accounts without authorization. She created loans and withdrew from the accounts of the credit union's members, then transferred the proceeds to accounts of other members before eventually withdrawing them. She also posed as elderly or deceased members when checking on the transfers of the money with the credit union's call center. She tried to get $127,431 from the credit union and $312,581 from the bank ( April 24) … * KENNEWICK, Wash., and PEKIN, Ill. (4/26/11)--Scammers using bogus text messages and phone calls have hit members and non members in Washington and Illinois, according to alerts from credit unions in those states. Credit unions targeted include Gesa CU and HAPO Community CU, both based in Richland, Wash., as well as other area financial institutions and businesses (Tri-City Herald April 24). In Illinois, Bartonville-based Redbrand CU members received text messages saying their ATM/credit cards have been deactivated and to reactivate the card, they must call a number ( April 23). The calls and text are ploys to get consumers to part with their credit card numbers and other sensitive financial information. Credit unions warned that no financial institution will contact them and ask for personal information … * SACRAMENTO, Calif. (4/26/11)--The Golden 1 CU received the "Exceptional Community Support" award at the 2011 People Helping People Awards luncheon April 12. The award, presented by the Community Services Planning Council, recognizes businesses, civic organizations and individuals for exemplary support for community projects and charities. Golden 1 was commended for contributing time, talent and resources to worthy causes. Its employees provided 2,752 hours of volunteer time during 2010. Golden 1's fundraisers for United Way and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals generated tens of thousands of dollars for the organizations and others. It also was recognized for providing free educational workshops that teach financial literacy to people of all ages. In 2010, nearly 9,800 people benefited from those workshops …

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