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Parolee Found Leading Good Life

NILES, Mich.-A parolee who was paying nickels and dimes on a $200,000 restitution order to CUNA Mutual Group was sent back to prison when authorities found him gambling hundreds of thousands of dollars at Las Vegas casinos. James Nekvasil, Jr., 34, convicted in 1995 of defrauding Tyler Employees CU, was found in violation of his 1997 parole by buying homes and a fancy racing boat, as well as going on at least six expensive gambling excursions to Las Vegas, despite owing more than $900,000 in restitution for his crimes.

"We found evidence of an extravagant lifestyle," Assistant U.S. Attorney Joan Meyer, told The Credit Union Journal.

Nekvasil was convicted of bank (credit union) fraud, conspiracy to defraud a credit union, auto theft and arson and sentenced to prison and ordered to pay $908,310 in restitution to the victims of his crimes. Authorities said he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on luxury gifts between May 1987 and March 2002, while he was making nominal payments between $75 and $600 towards the restitution order.

Nekvasil pleaded guilty in federal court last week to violating the restitution order and was sentenced to 10 more months in federal prison.

Search On For Box Cutter Robber

ROME, N.Y.-Police were searching the woods behind AmeriCU CU last weekend for an armed robber who held-up the credit union with a box-cutter. The robber entered the credit union around 9:30 a.m., demanded cash, then jumped over the tellers' counter and entered the vault where he stuffed money into a bag he was carrying. The robber then fled on foot into the woods behind the building.

Kinecta Signs With Ad Agency

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif.-Kinecta FCU said it has signed with T&O Group, a leading southern California advertising and public relations agency, for a diversified advertising and marketing campaign. Advertising will include print, radio, direct marketing and online activities and will focus on Kinecta's current members and a broader audience. The $2.8-billion Kinecta was formerly known as Hughes Aircraft EFCU.

'Pale Bandit' May Be At Casinos

SAN DIEGO-A man believed to be the "Pale Bandit," responsible for as many as 19 armed robberies in the area, may be spending his booty at gambling casinos at nearby Indian reservations. Surveillance videos from an unidentified Indian casino shows a man believed to be the prolific credit union and bank robber exchanging dye-stained cash at a cashier counter. The man, dubbed the Pale Bandit because of his white pancake make-up disguise, robbed USE CU last Wednesday, the 19th area credit union or bank robbery connected to the suspect. The suspect, who robbed Mission FCU two weeks ago, held up two San Diego banks June 24. Two days later, more than $2,000 in dye-stained money from one of the banks turned up at a local Indian casino.

SFCU Introduces Biz Program

PALO ALTO, Calif.-Stanford FCU said it has unveiled a Business Connect Program aimed at expanding its member business loan program, and offering businesses savings and transaction accounts and merchant services. The new services include business checking programs linked to credit lines, a money management savings account with tiered dividends, commercial loans and credit lines, and several small business resources and benefits. The credit union is currently marketing the program to the 1,200 small businesses in its FOM.

MBNA Acquires 2 Portfolios

WILMINGTON, Del.-MBNA Corp., the nation's largest credit card bank, said last week it has acquired two more credit union card portfolios, form CDC FCU, Atlanta, and PGA FCU, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. MBNA helped PGA FCU, which represents members of the Professional Golfers Association, develop a product that returns a portion of the revenue generated from the card program into each member's 401k account. MBNA has acquired more than a dozen credit union portfolios over the past year.

CCUL Creates Volunteer Network

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.-The California CU League said it has created a volunteer organizations to facilitate the exchanging of ideas between directors and volunteer committee members. The new CU Volunteer Network will have its first educational event Aug. 27, an online seminar to which participants may listen via telephone and view visuals over the Internet. The network also plans a session at the league's annual meeting in Las Vegas Nov. 13.

CU Targets Gay Community

VANCOUVER, B.C.-VanCity CU, Canada's largest credit union, has embarked on a new marketing campaign geared towards the province's gay community, becoming the first Canadian financial institution to use the mainstream media to target homosexuals.

The marketing campaign includes two ads running in the city's daily newspapers which show two people of the same sex proclaiming, "I want to bank with people who value all partnerships." Credit union officials said the campaign, scheduled to run through November, has attracted both positive and negative feedback.

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