Former CEO Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement
Christine Darley, former president/CEO of a merged Nebraska credit union, will be sentenced in December after she pleaded guilty to a felony count of bank fraud Thursday in U.S. District Court in Lincoln.
In exchange for her guilty plea, prosecutors dropped five bank fraud charges.
Darley admitted in court that she improperly obtained an $180,000 loan from the $3 million Panhandle Cooperative Federal Credit Union in Scottsbluff.
When Darley was indicted in February, federal prosecutors said she allegedly embezzled more than $535,000.
However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven A. Russell said during court proceedings Thursday that the “amount of loss and restitution is a contested issue.” Although court documents show she allegedly embezzled more than $535,000, the loss to the credit union was more than $200,000.
“If (an) order is entered, it is specified in the plea agreement that the defendant may be ordered to pay restitutions to Panhandle Federal Credit Union or its successor, Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union and/or the CUNA Mutual Group,” Russell said.
From August 2010 to June 2012, Darley withdrew funds and deposited the money into personal accounts she controlled at the credit union or at First State Bank, also based in Scottsbluff.
She also falsified documents to conceal her theft from the board of directors. The former CEO used the funds for her own benefit as well as for her family and friends.
After determining PCFCU’s poor financial condition, the NCUA approved the credit union’s consolidation last year with the $355 million Meridian Trust Credit Union in Cheyenne, Wyo.