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July 9, 07

NEWS / Globe Woman Indicted for $1.2 Million Embezzlement from Arizona Credit Union

PHOENIX, AZ—Based on an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a Globe woman was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday afternoon for allegedly embezzling approximately $1.18 million from a Gila County credit union. Marlene Aguilera Pena, 45, has been charged with 25 counts of embezzlement from the now defunct Marian Miami Federal Credit Union, of Miami, Ariz.

Pena was hired by the credit union in 1994 and became its manager in 2000. The indictment alleges that beginning in January 2001, through at least December 2006, Pena operated a scheme to defraud the credit union. The indictment goes on to allege that through her access to the credit union’s computer system, she created approximately 141 fictitious loans and fraudulently issued loan proceeds checks to her friends and family members. Pena misappropriated approximately $1.18 million, according to the indictment, a sum which caused, or contributed to, the failure of the credit union.

“Credit unions provide a financial backbone for small communities all over Arizona,” stated U.S. Attorney Diane J. Humetewa. “Allegations of theft will be thoroughly investigated and those responsible will be appropriately charged.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Nathan Gray, Phoenix Division, stated, “When an individual holds a position of trust and violates that trust by engaging in a fraud scheme for personal gain, it lessens the public’s confidence in financial institutions. The indictment is a clear indication of the FBI’s dedication to investigate and enforce the laws protecting financial institutions and hold accountable those who violate the trust placed upon them.”

Pena has been charged with 25 felony offenses of Embezzlement by an Employee of a Lending, Credit or Financial Institution. The charged embezzlements are alleged to have occurred between July 2004 and July 2006. A conviction for each of these offenses is punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.

An indictment is the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until a jury determines that a defendant’s guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation was conducted by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Frank T. Galati, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.



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