Corruption Probe Widens in Nor-Car FCU Failure

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ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The former president and manager of Nor-Car FCU is scheduled to plead guilty to embezzling almost $2 million from the now-defunct institution in one of the biggest credit union corruption cases in years. Authorities said Michael Symons, 66, has plead guilty to looting the once-prosperous credit union through a variety of schemes, including the siphoning of cash from member deposits, and by clearing bounced checks for family members and friends. Charges against Symons come after Betty Jean Barachie, a former branch manager at the failed credit union and a self-professed ‘shopaholic’, pleaded guilty to stealing $2 million, which she used to embark on a crazed shopping spree to buy hundreds of pairs of shoes, coats, and other goods, including a $60,000 pool and 16 chain saws. Symons is also the target of a civil suit filed by NCUA, which also names his wife, Lucinda Sterling, as a defendant. Three other individuals involved are also named as defendants in the NCUA suit. Altogether, more than $3.4 million was skimmed from the $40 million credit union, forcing NCUA to take it over in 2003, the sell it off.

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