Ringleader Captured In CU Kiting Scheme

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ORLANDO, Fla. – A woman believed to be the head of a local ring that paid welfare recipients to establish accounts at area credit unions for a sophisticated kiting scheme was arrested last week.

Vanessa Rideau, 41, allegedly paid the other individuals to open accounts at numerous credit unions – including Insight Financial CU, Fairwinds CU, Martin FCU, Central Florida Educators FCU and McCoy FCU – then would use their ATM cards to deposit fictitious checks and withdraw cash before the status of the checks were detected. Rideau paid the individuals $50 to $100 for their ATM cards and PINs. More than $250,000 was stolen from the credit unions through the scheme, according to authorities.

Rideau would deposit fraudulent checks via ATMs into the recently opened accounts and then immediately make a withdrawal, according to authorities. Once the deposited checks failed to clear, a representative from the credit union would call the account holder, who would claim the ATM card was stolen and say they had no knowledge of the deposit or the withdrawal.

Police have arrested 42 people so far in the scheme and three more are being sought. Of the 42 people charged, 28 are on receiving public benefits, state food stamps, which under state law could be taken away if they are convicted in the case.

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