Teller Jailed for Looting Dormant Accounts
NEW ORLEANS – A former teller who stole more than $670,000 from inactive accounts at the McNeese FCU was sentenced Tuesday to more than four years in federal prison. Cristella Belaire, 41, of Lake Charles, was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered her to pay back $783,985 to the credit union for McNeese State University after she is released from prison. Belaire pleaded guilty in October to theft and embezzlement charges. Once Belaire finishes her prison term, she must pay $13,066 a month until all of the money is paid back. Authorities said Belaire targeted 16 accounts which were rarely accessed or used by the owners of the accounts, but maintained high balances. She shifted funds between the accounts to fool the auditors and NCUA during the eight-year scheme. The restitution order includes repayment of the stolen funds and interest to be paid to the credit union insurer, CUNA Mutual Group.