How a Former Employee Bled a Credit Union Dry and Spent the Cash on Jewelry, Houses, and a Timeshare in Cabo

Categories: Crime

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This past October, the Women's Southwest Federal Credit Union closed its doors. It was tiny, with just 743 members and $2 million in assets, but more important was its balance sheet. The National Credit Union Administration determined WSFCE was insolvent and had to liquidate.

That's when federal regulators began poking around in the credit union's books and discovered that an employee, Theresa Portillo, had managed to embezzle $3.4 million from the organization.

Portillo didn't steal the money all at once but played a longer game, stretching it out over more than a decade. Starting in 2001, she began contacting other financial institutions and offering to sell them certificates of deposit. The purchaser was instructed to make payment to the credit union's Chase bank account.

Credit union officials knew of the account but presumed it inactive, leaving Portillo in control. She would then transfer the funds to a credit union account Portillo had created under the name of Rachel Hanson, who doesn't actually exist. She did this with at least 18 CDs.

Portillo spent the cash on jewelry, cars, vacations, and the like, but she didn't squander all of it. A lot she poured into her rental properties, purchasing at least nine homes in the Dallas area.

This all caught up with her when the credit union folded. She agreed on Tuesday to plead guilty to embezzling funds from a credit institution. She faces a maximum 30 years in prison and $1 million fine, plus restitution.

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9 comments
donyaemilia
donyaemilia

there's so much more to this story, were you limited to 250 words?

DOCensors
DOCensors

Is this the same person as Teri Portillo who was the CEO?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

An important part of any business venture is to have an exit strategy.

In the case of embezzlement, do not stick around.  When you have reached your goal of the amount of money to be embezzled, go to a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the US for embezzlement of funds from a financial institution.  Please note that there are different statutes for embezzlement depending upon the circumstances.

It is interesting to note that the outside auditors missed this for close to 11 years until the institution failed.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@mcdallas @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul The difference between the economic activities of criminals and businessman is that society does not approve of the activities of the former and tolerates the latter ....

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