Former First Tech Staffer Gets Probation for Money Laundering
A former credit union employee was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court to five years of probation after pleading guilty to laundering drug money for her ex-boyfriend, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, Ore.
From April 2011 to April 2012, Janelle Fuston, 25, of Aloha, Ore., laundered more than $120,000 at the $6.2 billion First Tech Federal Credit Union where she worked, authorities said.
Court documents do not reveal what her title was or at what branch Fuston worked. First Tech FCU is based in Mountain View, Calif., and operates 10 branches in Oregon.
Fuston, who pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering in April, admitted she knew that her then-boyfriend, Larry Fuentes, had no legitimate income, and that she knew the cash he was providing her was generated from cocaine trafficking, according to federal prosecutors.
When police searched the home Fuston shared with Fuentes, they found cocaine, drug paraphernalia and photographic evidence of drug trafficking that took place at their home, court documents state.
“She (Fuston) deposited the drug money into multiple accounts held in her name at First Tech Federal Credit Union,” court documents state. “She further admitted to establishing one of the accounts at First Tech in her name for the sole purpose of storing those drug proceeds, and to breaking up the drug proceeds into multiple deposits because ATMs could only accept a limited number of bills at a time.”
Federal authorities also said Fuston and her ex-boyfriend spent most of the drug money on vacations, tanning salons and other luxuries. Of the $120,000 that was laundered, only $11,757 was recovered by police.
Fuston was fired from her job at First Tech FCU once her conduct was uncovered, authorities said. Her plea agreement prohibits her from working in the financial industry for 10 years following her conviction.
In addition to five years of probation, U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez in Portland also ordered Fuston to serve 200 hours of community service and to pay $48,243 in restitution, according to court documents.
Fuston’s co-defendant, Larry Fuentes, has also pleaded guilty to money laundering and is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 4, 2014, federal prosecutors said.