Pa. CUs Victims in CD Ponzi Scam
According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, Eugene Miley worked as a financial broker for Moonlight Credit Union, VANtage Trust Credit Union and Stanwood Area Federal Credit Union. Between 2006 and 2008, Miley was to purchase high-interest rate CDs for the credit unions. Instead, Miley allegedly used the funds for personal items. The broker then paid the interest using money from new members to cover the funds. Corbett said the Ponzi scheme went collapsed because Miley could not secure new clients to make up for the money he allegedly had stolen from the credit unions.
Corbett said while Miley ran his own financial services company since June 1989, he was not licensed as a financial adviser or financial products dealer in Pennsylvania. According to the attorney general's office, Miley has operated the Ponzi scheme for 15 years, but the recent charges are only tagged to CDs purchases that occurred between 2006 and 2008.
Miley was charged on Oct. 16 with three counts of theft by failure to make required deposition, three counts of theft by deception, one count of securities fraud for selling unregistered securities and one count of securities fraud for creating a scheme to defraud. Pennsylvania state police arrested Miley that same day. He was later arraigned and released on $50,000 bond but was required to wear an electronic monitor. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20.
In all, Corbett said Miley defrauded $1.38 million from Stanwood Area CU, $600,000 from VANtage CU and $99,000 from Stanwood Area FCU.
In July, several credit unions filed a lawsuit against MetaBank to recover $4 million in CD funds. Charlene M. Pickhinke, a former MetaBank employee for 28 years, pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Sioux City, Iowa, to money laundering, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and making false statements on a bank's records, according to Matt Dummermuth an attorney with the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa. In her plea agreement, Pickhinke admitted that from 1995 to 2008 she sold more than 40 fake CDs while employed at MetaBank. She also admitted to opening two bank accounts using the names and Social Security numbers of deceased bank customers and used the accounts to launder funds.
A few years ago, hundreds of credit unions were among the victims of a $370 million CD scam ran by Bentley Financial Services. Robert Bentley, the brokerage firm's owner, pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of bank bribery. He is currently serving five years in prison and was ordered to pay $3.25 million in fines.