Couple Faces Prison, Fines in California CU Scheme
A married couple now living in Las Vegas faces years in prison and potentially millions of dollars in fines for a scheme that wound up bringing down a small federal credit union in California.
According to documents from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Mireya Guadalupe Gonzalez and her husband, Jorge Gonzalez, were indicted for having embezzled more than $1.2 million from the Sharebuilders Federal Credit Union, then headquartered in Northridge, Calif. The credit union served the employees of a 3M manufacturing plant there.
According to the indictment, Mireya was employed as a manager at the CU and sometime before January 2005 began moving money from dormant CU accounts to accounts in her name, her husband's name and those of her children. The Gonzalezes controlled all the accounts and used the money they moved to fund purchases of jewelry, luxury items and other goods, according to Andre Birotte, U.S. attorney for the Central District of California.
In the indictment, Birotte charged that Mireya had also used her authority to move money from one account to another to hide the theft and had lied to audit firms that had been hired to review the CU's books. According to the indictment and a plea agreement Mireya signed, the theft was of such a degree that Sharebuilders could no longer continue and the NCUA had to take over and liquidate the institution in April 2007.
According to court documents, Mireya faces longer jail time because the embezzlement led to the institution's failure and moves the crime to a higher level in the federal sentencing guidelines. Pleading guilty will limit the possible sentence, but court documents still showed that she faces a maximum of 33 years in prison and over a million dollars in fines.
Mireya was the only one with a plea agreement filed but a plea meeting has been scheduled for Jorge's case, according to court records.
Both face additional fines and prison time because they failed to report any of their ill-gotten money to the Internal Revenue Service, and Mireya pleaded guilty to a count of tax evasion as well.
Court filings indicate that the couple will be sentenced in late September of this year.