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NFCU Pilots On-Board SmartCard

NORFOLK, Va.-Navy FCU has joined a ship-board pilot test of the U.S. Navy's stored value Cash Card at Naval Air Station Norfolk.

The test, which is being conducted by the U.S. Treasury Financial Management Services and the Department of the Navy, is being conducted aboard the USS Kearsage and involves 75 sailors who are Navy Fed members.

The card enables sailors to make on board purchases without cash while out at sea, as well as ashore away from home port.

The program is being managed by JP Morgan Chase but concerned Pentagon officials sought an outside participant, like Navy Fed, in order to expand the options for sailors so that use of the card does not require a JP Morgan Chase account.

Grand Jury Indicts Bandit

MINNEAPOLIS-A 56-year-old suburbanite was charged in a 21-count indictment with committing an 18-month spree of credit union and bank robberies that marked him as the state's most prolific bank robber.

A federal grand jury charged that John Whitrock, of nearby Burnside, was the Fishing Hat Bandit, so called for wearing his trademark fishing hat and high-water waders during heists.

The bandit was finally reeled in after hitting Real Financial CU on Jan. 7 when the credit union's manager, Dean Wickstrom, chased him down and alerted police to his hiding place, culminating in a guns-drawn capture near the credit union.

The indictment, a copy of which was obtained by The Credit Union Journal, charges Whitrock stole a total of $87,000 from the institutions.

Barclays Enters CU Card Market

EUGENE, Ore.-Oregon Community CU said it has agreed to sell its credit card portfolio to Juniper Financial Corp., a unit of Barclays Group, and a new entry in the expanding market for credit union portfolios.

Under the deal, Oregon Community CU will sell its $43 million in receivables to Juniper, which will manage a new no-fee MasterCard to be introduced by the $700-million credit union, the Oregon Community CU World MasterCard.

Juniper is a Wilmington, Del.-based unit of Barclays, the British banking giant.

DayMet CU Workers Go On Strike

DAYTON, Ohio-About 30 members of the DayMet CU employees union, the Office and Professional Employees International Union, Local 98, went out on strike recently after their contract expired.

Union representatives said they are looking for a pay raise, instead of annual bonuses, as employees have been compensated the past four years.

Pay By Touch At Supermarkets

CHARLESTON, S.C.-Piggly Wiggly supermarkets said it is expanding its pilot fingerprint scanning program to allow consumers at all of its supermarkets to pay by fingerprint scanning.

The process allows a shopper to scan his finger, enter a search code, and add checking account information to create a Pay By Touch eWallet, to be accessed at the check-out line.

Customers will simply scan their finger and select their preferred payment method, eliminating the need for cash, cards, checks or ID.

FBI Hunts Female CU Robber

PHOENIX-The FBI and Phoenix Police are searching for a woman who robbed Desert Schools FCU here.

The female bandit threatened to use a gun if demands for cash were not met.

The robber is described as a white woman, about 5' 8" in height, 125 pounds, who was wearing her brown-blond hair pulled back in a pony tail and wearing an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball cap.

Hitman Killed Robbery Witness

KANSAS CITY, Mo.-A local man who helped hire a hitman to kill a federal witness in the 1997 armed robbery at Educators FCU, in Omaha, Neb., was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

Anthony Hunter, 54, admitted he received $2,500 in the spring of 1998 for his role in the murder of John Wayne Hogsett, 33. Hunter was hired by Cornelius Peoples of Kansas City, who ordered the killing of Hogsett to keep him from testifying in the credit union heist.

Hogsett, who lived as a woman under the name Jovan Ross, had been providing police with evidence against Peoples and his accomplice, Xavier Lightfoot, in a series of credit union and bank robberies in the Midwest.

Ex-Employee Guilty Of Fraud

FORT WAYNE, Ind.-A former employee at Peoples and Employees FCU pleaded guilty to using false information to obtain credit and loans worth as much as $600,000 from the credit union.

Carnelle Rutledge, 31, pleaded guilty to seven counts of aiding and abetting in bank fraud and faces up to 30 years in prison when sentenced May 2.

Rutledge admitted to using a false name, Social Security number and address to obtain loans while working at the credit union between February 2003 and June 2004.

Almost all of the loans exceed $100,000.

Older Brother Gets Jail In Heists

SKOWHEGAN, Maine-The eldest of two teenage brothers who robbed Franklin-Somerset FCU twice last year was sent to prison for six years.

James 'Tony' Wildes, now 19, was convicted of robbing the CU of $15,000 and then another $30,000 five weeks later. He was ordered to pay $15,000 restitution after his lawyer argued he didn't have the rest of the money and was in no condition to raise it, especially after he goes to prison. Wildes' 16-year-old brother Christopher, who helped in the dual credit union heists, will be in a juvenile detention center until he reaches the age of 20.

Assailants Force Member To Withdraw Cash From CU

MARSHFIELD, Ct.-A routine traffic stop for speeding led to the recovery of a stolen car and the arrest of two local men who forced a Marshfield Medical Center CU member to go to his credit union and withdraw cash form his account.

The two suspects, identified as Kevin Christiansen, 43, and Gordon Schmitt, 43, went to the Stratford home of John Brogan, 24, and told him, 'it's pay day, we're going to the bank,' according to police.

The two men and Brogan then drove Brogan's van to the credit union and forced him to withdraw $600, then forced Brogan to sign over possession of his an to them. After arrest of the two suspects, Brogan's $600 was returned to him.

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