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CU System briefs (11/29/2012)
  • HARRISBURG, Pa. (11/30/12)--Credit union members whose phone numbers are located in the 814 area code are reporting receiving fraudulent text messages on their mobile devices, according to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) (Life is a Highway Nov. 29).  The text message states, "THE CREDIT UNION CENTER NOTICE: Your ATM/CARD has been DEACTIVATED. Please call the 24 hour Account Reactivation Line (814) 321-5079."  PCUA said that credit unions located in the affected area should be on alert for similar messages to their members. The 814 area code serves 27 counties in the northwestern and central regions of Pennsylvania …
  • MIDLAND, Texas (11/30/12)--A former loan officer of the Midland, Texas, branch of My Community FCU pleaded guilty of defrauding the credit union of $4 million in a fraudulent loan scheme involving more than $29,000 in kickbacks (Odessa American Nov. 28). Michael Ross Franco, who was a loan officer at the credit union from May 22, 2006, through Oct. 22, 2008, pleaded guilty Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in Midland on charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  He allegedly approved about 487 fraudulent auto loans worth a total of $7 million without verifying loan documents or in some cases without receiving the loan application first. The dealership and Franco's contact there have not been identified. The credit union released a statement pointing out that the incident is more than three years old and is under investigation. The funds are federally insured and bonded and the credit union is "financial strong," the credit union said …
  • RICHMOND, Calif. (11/30/12)--A credit union president/CEO who was elected to the City Council in Richmond, Calif., on Nov. 6,  remains hospitalized with miningitus, according to Contra Costa Times (Nov. 27).   Gary Bell,  president/CEO of the $103 million asset Cooperative Center FCU, Berkeley, was diagnosed in the weeks before his Nov. 6 election. He was hospitalized before the election and again on Nov. 10 to undergo two surgeries to relieve swelling of the brain. Bell was elected to the city council with 15% of the vote, earning him the third and final vacant seat.  City staff agreed to waive penalties related to late campaign finance reports in light of his hospitalization, said the newspaper  …
  • CONCORD, N.H. (11/30/12)--A Compton, Calif., man was sentenced by a federal court in New Hampshire to 20 years in prison for a string of robberies that included the Manchester, N.H. branch of  Portsmouth-based Northeast CU.  Walter Williams, 44, pleaded guilty to that robbery as well as to two jewelry store holdups in Manchester and Tilton.  Williams was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.  Others arrested in relation to the credit union robbery included Williams' then-girlfriend, Shyloe Johnson, who pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting two robberies and was sentenced earlier this year; and Prince Sage, Brooklyn, N.Y., who pleaded guilty to the credit union robbery and is scheduled to be sentenced today. A fourth person, Delano Nelson, also of Compton, Calif., was indicted in the jewelry store robberies and will be tried in January.  Several others were charged in a state court with lesser offenses related to the heists  (Federal Information & News Dispatch Nov. 27) …


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