The former manager, treasurer and sole employee of Seward, Neb.’s H.B.E. Credit Union, which has been closed for nearly a year, will spend close to four years in jail for stealing a total of $635,998.56 from the credit union, authorities said.
Crystal Lankford was sentenced Monday to 45 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release, according to the FBI office in Omaha, Neb.
Lankford was also ordered to make restitution for the entire stolen amount. She pled guilty to the crime of embezzlement from a federally insured credit union back in September, the FBI said.
The FBI said between April 2006 and September 2011, Lankford wrote unauthorized checks to herself and her husband, Steve Lankford, from H.B.E. CU’s operating account at Union Bank and Trust, then deposited the money into her own checking account.
In October 2011, knowing that H.B.E. CU had a next to nothing balance, she abandoned her position at the credit union, the FBI said.
According to NCUA, H.B.E. CU merged with NCUA assistance on Feb. 26, 2012.
Lankford’s is the latest in a string of embezzlement cases at credit unions over the past six months.
These include a $3.4 million embezzlement at the NCUA-seized Women’s Southwest Federal Credit Union, a theft of $2.1 million at United Catholic Credit Union, an $800,000 embezzlement at Enterprise Credit Union and a case involving tax fraud, embezzlement and money laundering at Borinquen Federal Credit Union.