Former Credit Union CEO Admits Taking Bribe
Linda Reynolds-Sienkiewicz, the former president/CEO of the $102 million Pinellas Federal Credit Union in Largo, Fla., agreed to plead guilty to taking a $21,000 bribe.
On Dec. 3, she was charged by federal prosecutors in U.S. District Court in Tampa, Fla., with one felony count of receipt of commission for procuring loans
During a meeting in February 2010, Reynolds-Sienkiewicz admitted that she solicited “payment of money” from a company only identified by its initials, M.S., according to court documents.
The former credit union CEO met with M.S. to discuss renewing its $66,938 contract to provide identity theft protection services to PFCU members and employees.
“Ultimately, the defendant (Reynolds-Sienkiewicz) and M.S. agreed that the defendant would renew the contract with M.S.’s business, and M.S. would make a payment totaling $21,000 to the defendant’s spouse,” according to the plea agreement.
The $21,000 check was made payable to CU Solutions Inc., a Florida corporation for which Reynolds-Sienkiewicz and her spouse serve as COO and CEO, respectively.
Reynolds-Sienkiewicz and her husband endorsed the check and deposited it into her personal PFCU account, according to court records.
Reynolds-Sienkiewicz’s attorney, M.D. Purcell Jr. in Tampa, declined to comment on behalf of his client.
The guilty plea comes after PFCU filed a civil lawsuit in January 2012 in federal court that accused Reynolds-Sienkiewicz of misappropriating credit union funds by hiring family members and friends as contractors and paying far higher than market rates.
The lawsuit also accused her of fraud, constructive fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment. The credit union asked the court to permit it to freeze the accounts of Reynolds-Sienkiewicz and relatives at the credit union.
In her formal reply, Reynolds-Sienkiewicz denied the charges and counter-sued credit union board members charging that the failure to release the funds was civil theft. She also claimed in her denial that PFCU leadership knew and approved of her choices for contractors.
“Plaintiff, acting through its operations director and/or IT technician, hired Defendant's son to perform cabling work for it, knowing he was Defendant's son and after approving a proposal he submitted to do the work at below market rates,” Reynolds-Sienkiewicz’s wrote in the reply. “In addition, the Chairman of Plaintiff's Board of Directors, Jack Bowman, was aware of and never objected to the arrangement,” she added in the filing.
The credit union and Reynolds-Sienkiewicz agreed to dismiss the case on Nov. 1, 2012. Both parties also agreed to pay their own attorney fees, costs and other expenses.