PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) – A western Pennsylvania woman stole more than $100,000 from the tiny, church-affiliated credit union she used to manage, a federal grand jury charged Wednesday.
Victoria Rozanski, 59, of Ellwood City, is charged with stealing the money from Holy Redeemer Parish Federal Credit Union between January 2003 and May 2009. Rozanski declined to comment on the indictment returned in federal court in Pittsburgh.
The credit union, which also is located in Ellwood City, had 234 members and assets of nearly $630,000 when it was absorbed last year by the much larger Freedom United Federal Credit Union, which now has more than 7,500 members and nearly $53 million in assets, according to Zelda Smith, the president treasurer of Freedom United.
“It was very small, very limited in service,” said Smith, who could offer no details about the theft.
The pastor of the parish that established the credit union in 1935 did not immediately return a call for comment, but Smith and others familiar with the credit union say it was so tiny that it didn’t have a teller window and that it operated out of a 10-by-10-foot room that was open only three hours a week. It remains open as a branch of the larger credit union, which Smith said merged with it last May.
It was not immediately clear if that merger was the result of the alleged thefts, and federal prosecutors could not immediately detail how the money was allegedly stolen or why.
But Smith said none of the tiny credit union’s members “lost a penny. It was totally insured. Their money, their accounts were not affected.”
The charge Rozanski faces is embezzling from a federally insured credit union. The National Credit Union Administration Board insured the deposits, much like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insures bank deposits.
The charge carries up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, though federal sentences are driven largely by advisory guidelines that reflect the actual amount stolen and the defendant’s criminal history. The Associated Press found no record of arrests or convictions for Rozanski in Pennsylvania.
The parish credit union was limited to parish members or their family members, Smith said. The new merged credit union draws members from three western Pennsylvania school districts, several large businesses and a total of 150 sponsors. Freedom United was established 75 years ago.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)