Credit union executive jailed for $1.5 million embezzlement but must repay $1,000

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The now-defunct former chief executive of a western Iowa credit union was sentenced Wednesday to up to 15 months in federal prison for a decades-long scheme to embezzle nearly $1.5 million, according to court records.

However, Janine Keim, 69, of Denison, was only ordered to pay back $1,000 because federal prosecutors were unable to prove how much of that money she took for her own benefit from the Consumers Credit Union in Denison.

Keim’s co-conspirator — his sister Brenda Jensen, 54, of Denison — has been condemned last year to three years in federal prison and ordered to repay $1.46 million, the total amount investigators determined was embezzled from the credit union.

Jensen had a well-documented “online shopping addiction,” according to court records. For example, investigators noted that she made more than $16,000 in online purchases in one month in 2015.

Keim only admitted to taking $1,000.

“The judge who sentenced Ms Keim decided there was no evidence that she personally benefited from the loss of money which she concealed by making her false statements,” said Tony Morfitt, gatekeeper. word of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa.

The theft scheme led to the credit union’s insolvency and it merged with another credit union in May 2018, court records show.

Keim started working for the credit union in 1985 and Jensen in 1986. When they were fired in February 2018, Keim was the manager and Jensen was the head cashier, according to court records.

“Keim and Jensen were able to conceal their decades-long embezzlement by overstating the general ledger balance of the change fund and issuing fraudulent checks to cover ongoing activities,” an Ohio company concluded. in its 2018 audit of the credit union, a report of which was filed in federal court.

The audit began earlier this year and found the embezzlement was covered up, in part because Keim claimed the credit union was storing a large amount of cash in a local bank.

But investigators determined that his proof of that claim — a letter dated May 2012 showing the credit union had nearly $715,000 in cash at Bank Iowa — was fraudulent. The letter was allegedly signed by the president of the bank, but his signature on the letter was suspicious.

When confronted with the signing, “Keim immediately admitted that she had signed the name of Bank Iowa President Scott Brus on the letter,” according to court records.

Keim had additionally filed bogus reports with federal regulators “attesting to the financial soundness” of the former credit union, Morfitt said. She pleaded guilty last year to making false statements to the National Credit Union Administration.

Keim’s sentencing was delayed for months as prosecutors argued she was still responsible for full restitution despite a lack of evidence of her personal gains from the scheme. They requested more than six years in prison.

On Wednesday, Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand sentenced Keim to 15 months in prison, fined him $5,000 and ordered him to pay $1,000 in restitution.

The sentencing order stated that Keim had already paid restitution.

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