Embezzlement ‘Red Flags Were Missed’
A former president/CEO will be sentenced in April for embezzling $741,362 from the $4.6 million Corry Area Schools Federal Credit Union in Corry, Pa.
Karen Schenck, 50, of Bear Lake, Pa., pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement in U.S. District Court in Erie on Dec. 21.
According to federal prosecutors, Schenck stole the funds in a variety of ways from January 2008 to August 2015.
She made $268,402 in unauthorized or fictitious loans in the names of her family members. She used those funds for her own benefit or to conceal out of balance conditions in various general ledger accounts.
Schenck also made more than 60 fake deposits into her own account or the accounts of family members totaling $317,897, which she used to pay her personal expenses, and she withdrew more than $95,000 from two member accounts without authorization.
Additionally, prosecutors said in a prepared statement, the former executive made more than $42,000 in loans to herself and fabricated the loan underwriting documents make it appear that she qualified for the loans. She also used the stolen funds to pay off personal credit card balances and made unauthorized credit card limits that caused more than $17,000 in losses for the credit union.
Steven M. Tessmer, who was appointed president/CEO of Corry Area Schools FCU in August 2015, said though Schenck was very good at covering her tracks, red flags were missed by the supervisory committee's auditor.
“She was a master at covering her tracks, keeping people at bay and she certainly led people to believe that they could trust her,” Tessmer said. “The trust was there but the verification part was lacking. There were things that should have been detected that they (supervisory committee auditors) did not.”
“She was messing with the credit union Visa credit card portfolio as well,” Tessmer said. “They didn't do a gross interest test on the (credit card) portfolio, so the loan portfolio was growing (more than doubled) but they weren't seeing the interest income increasing. Those things should have been caught by the (supervisory committee) auditors and they should have been caught by the NCUA examiners.”
It wasn't until July 2015 when an annual NCUA audit discovered discrepancies.
Tessmer said the credit union board has implemented new policies, procedures and internal controls to detect and prevent fraud.