Nervous about a possible audit following an unrelated robbery, a former Rhode Island credit union supervisor is facing 30 years in federal prison after confessing to embezzling more than $437,000 from the institution, authorities said.
Crystal Ferreira, 27, of Fall River, Mass., pleaded guilty this month in federal court to embezzling more than $437,000 from a Columbus Credit Union branch in Riverside, R.I., said an FBI report.
The $68 million Columbus CU in Warren, R.I.,merged last year with the $1.4 billion Navigant Credit Union of Smithfield, R.I.
Ferreira originally confessed to the East Providence Police Department last year during an investigation into an unrelated robbery, said the FBI.
The robbery suspect, who took about $10,000, was later arrested, according to the East Providence Police Department.
Police said Ferreira got nervous when she was told that an audit might occur as part of the robbery investigation.
“It’s not typical when you’re investigating a bank robbery that an employee actually admits to stealing more than the robber,” Eric Rodrigues, a detective investigating the case, told local media.
Ferreira originally told police she embezzled the funds in response to a demand for cash and threats from two men, but later recanted that portion of the story, the FBI said.
Ferreira later admitted that she began taking large sums of money in May 2012, including taking $20,000 from the vault and replacing it with money from the ATM, stuffing bundled cash into shopping bags and stealing two bulk money shipments of $65,000 each, which were delivered to the branch office but never entered into the computer system, the FBI said.
A credit union audit determined that she embezzled $437,250, the FBI said.
Ferreira is scheduled to be sentenced in January and faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million, according to the FBI report.