Jury to Reconsider Theft Charges in Philly-Area CU CEO Retrial
The retrial of a former Philadelphia-area credit union manager, originally scheduled for Monday, has been postponed to June 27, according to the Montgomery County Deputy District Attorney Steven Latzer.
Latzer also told Credit Union Times the trial of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 FCU’s former CEO Anne L. Clyburn will be heard by a jury, rather than just a judge, as was the plan for the original June 3 court date.
Clyburn’s 2010 conviction was overturned last year on a technicality, because the court failed to properly inform her of her right to waive legal representation.
She was convicted of allegedly stealing $32,469 by giving herself unauthorized raises and using credit union funds to pay personal expenses. Clyburn represented herself at the original trial, Latzer said, but retained prominent local attorney Samuel Stretton for the appeal and retrial.
Latzer said the DA’s office will bring the same 45 charges against Clyburn it alleged in the original trial.
Clyburn’s husband, Stephan, who teaches political science at West Chester University, told Credit Union Times that Latzer said during a May 22 court date the prosecution would drop most of the charges.
Latzer confirmed Stephan Clyburn’s statement, saying he had various conversations with Stretton regarding how the case would be presented.
“Last week, the tentative understanding was that we would proceed on some but not all charges, and would do that before a judge, not a jury,” Latzer said. “That has changed and as of right now, we are scheduled for a jury trial, and the Commonwealth will proceed on all charges.”
Clyburn also said Latzer told Judge William Carpenter that he was going to drop the additional charges because the $6.5 million credit union did not provide documents requested by the court.
Latzer called that statement “inaccurate” and said the documents in question were not presented because the DA’s office believes Clyburn has them in her possession.
“Ninety-nine percent of the records have been produced,” Latzer said.
Both Latzer and Stephan Clyburn agree the charges center around three incidents: unauthorized raises, the use of a credit union credit card to pay a hotel bill, and the use of credit union checks to pay an outstanding personal dental bill.
The Plymouth Meeting, Pa.-based credit union experienced a prolonged power outage in 2006, Clyburn said, and the board chairman at the time gave his wife permission to check into a hotel, on the credit union’s dime, so she could work remotely.
Regarding the dental bill, Clyburn said his wife suspects another former employee who had access to the credit union’s checking account could have mistakenly paid the dental bill on her behalf.
Clyburn said the charges are an attempt to frame his wife after she reported in 2006 that members deposited money given to them by a union official and immediately withdrew it to illegally donate the funds to the campaign of former Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.
Anne Clyburn was fired from the credit union in February 2007.
Ed Chew, legal director at UFCW Local 1776, said Clyburn’s claims are “totally false” and her reports to authorities were “shut down and ignored.”
The NCUA didn’t ignore Clyburn’s report, however. Clyburn said NCUA Staff Attorney Kevin Johnson set up a February 2012 meeting between the Clyburns and three NCUA employees in a Philadelphia train station to discuss the deposits.
NCUA Public Affairs Specialist John Fairbanks confirmed that meeting.
“Per common practice, NCUA was looking into matters pertaining to the credit union, and a staff attorney and two regional staff met with Ms. Clyburn and her husband,” he said.
However, no charges have been filed by authorities in connection with Clyburn’s claims.