Ex-CU President Pleads Guilty

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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 siphoning cash from member deposits and clearing bounced checks for family members and friends.

Charges against Symons come after Betty Jean Barachie, a former branch manager at the failed CU and a self-professed "shopaholic," pleaded guilty to stealing $2 million, which she used on a 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 others involved are also named. More than $3.4 million was skimmed from the $40-million Nor-Car, forcing NCUA to take it over in 2003. (c) 2007 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.cujournal.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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