Red Cross Double-Cross Confounds CU Scamsters

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WASHINGTON – Two former employees at the American Red Cross’ Clara Barton FCU last week pleaded guilty to arranging more than $675,000 in fraudulent loans from the credit union, which was merged into Pentagon FCU in 2008.

The employees, Tracy Kemper, 35, a loan officer, and Tiffany Samuells, 34, a member service representative, eventually were stuck with making payments on the phony loans after some of the recipients stopped making payments, forcing the two to use some of the proceeds of kickbacks they received as part of the scheme to make the payments.

The scheme was uncovered during the merger between Clara Barton and PenFed, when representatives of PenFed reviewed Clara Barton’s records and detected numerous fraudulent and suspicious loans.

Each woman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. As part of the plea, they agreed to pay restitution and forfeiture in the amount of at least $519,028. Because some payments were made by borrowers on the loans, the total amount of restitution in the case is limited to the actual losses suffered by the credit union.

Between 2006 and Oct. 31, 2008, Kemper and Samuells caused $678,311 in fraudulent loans to be issued from the credit union. The borrowers were friends, relatives, and associates of Kemper and Samuells. The loans were issued in exchange for receiving a kickback, or portion of the loan proceeds, from the borrowers. The amount of the kickback paid to Kemper and Samuells ranged from $1,000 to $3,500 per loan.

The two are scheduled to be sentenced in July.


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