After Hours of Closing Arguments, Jury Weighs Evidence in Aranjo Conspiracy Trial
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- After listening to three hours of closing arguments in the embezzlement case of Carol Aranjo and her husband, Alphonso Smith, jurors are now weighing their verdict.
The Republican reported yesterday that a total of 29 witnesses testified throughout the trial, in which the defendants were also charged with conspiracy and other related charges. The pair is accused of stealing $1.5 million from D. Edward Wells Federal Credit Union and using it to buy a Mexican time-share, take trips and pay personal debts. The funds were taken from other credit union member accounts. Aranjo's lawyer called that "preposterous" in his closing argument.
"She was like a shark looking for prey," The Republican quoted Assistant U.S. Attorney Jorge Almonte, saying that dozens of the alleged transfers from solvent accounts ran up to $150,000 in the red, at one point, according to government's evidence. There was also loan documentation fraud involved.
Defense lawyer Timothy G. Watkins said there was no ill intent on Aranjo's part and that the CU board could have intervened if they saw any irregularities. U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor gave final instructions before the jury began its deliberations.