Denison woman sentenced for embezzling nearly $1.5M from credit union

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(KCAU) — A Denison woman involved in a scheme resulting in nearly $1.5 million being embezzled from a local credit union was sentenced Friday to three years in federal prison.

Brenda Jensen, 53, of Denison, received the prison term after a guilty plea to credit union embezzlement. 

In a plea agreement, Jensen admitted that from at least May 2012 to March 2018, she embezzled money from Consumer Credit Union (CCU) in Denison, Iowa while working there as an employee.  CCU serviced the following counties: Crawford, Carrol, Shelby, Ida, Monona, Sac, and Harrison. 

Jensen and at least one other employee, including Jensen’s sister, Janine Keim, embezzled a total of nearly $1.5 million. Jensen was responsible for all cash and cash counts at CCU during the relevant timeframe. She hid her crime from auditors and CCU for years by overstating the change fund in the credit union’s general ledger balance and creating fictitious deposits into her personal accounts at CCU, resulting in a loss of $922,480.29.  This aspect of the scheme resulted in $922,480.29 in losses. After years of embezzling, the employees developed an internal kiting scheme. The kiting scheme caused CCU an additional $539,000 in losses. CCU’s total cash loss caused the institution to collapse, resulting in a forced merger with SAC Federal Credit Union. CCU’s assets had decreased by over a million dollars. The decrease was a direct result of Jensen’s criminal activity.

Former board members from CCU submitted letters and victim impact statements to Chief Judge United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. A former CCU board member recalled a story of a single mother with three children who could not get approval elsewhere to obtain an emergency loan, but who was helped by CCU. Jensen’s theft caused the dissolvement of CCU and deprived the community of such financial services. 

Jensen was sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment. She was ordered to make $1,461,480.29 in restitution.  She must also serve a 2-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Jensen was bonded out and is to surrender to the United States Marshal; Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.

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