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6 NY CUs In Shared Branch Accord

ROCHESTER, N.Y.-Six upstate credit unions have joined the CU Shared Service Centers Network to give their members access to 18 branches in the Rochester area, as well as 1,600 branches nationwide. Local branches will be identified for members with the "CU Service Centers" sign at the entrance. Participating credit unions in the area are: Advantage FCU, Family First FCU, St. Pius X FCU, The Summit FCU, WCTA FCU and Xerox FCU.

Wis. CUs, Banks In Program

APPLETON, Wis.-Three area credit unions have joined seven banks and the University of Wisconsin to create a program aimed at helping scofflaw consumers regain their checking account privileges. The Get Checking program will help consumers who have lost their checking accounts because of credit abuses open new checking accounts. Participating credit unions include CitizensFirst CU, Community First CU and Unison CU.

Striking Workers Get Support

DAYTON, Ohio-Members of AFL-CIO unions joined about 30 employees of DayMet CU walking a picket line last week as a strike at the $75-million credit union stretched into its fifth week. Officials with the Office and Professional Employees International Union, Local 98, claim credit union officials refuse to negotiate and have hired replacement workers. Union representatives said the union is looking for a pay raise, instead of annual bonuses, as employees have been compensated the past eight years, and health insurance for all hourly workers.

NCUA Shuts Down Small CU

OAKLAND, Calif.-NCUA has closed down and liquidated the $13-million KO-AM FCU, which served the Bay Area's Korean population. NCUA said it decided to close down the faith-based credit union after it determined the institution to be insolvent. KO-AM FCU reported that assets declined by 3% last year to $12.5 million and net income was just $104,000. Net capital was 7.5%. The failure of the CDCU follows recent closures of other CDCUs: Nor-Car FCU, Oasis Community FCU and D. Edward Wells FCU.

Trio Indicted In Card Scheme

SAN JOSE, Calif.-Three men have been indicted on conspiracy charges in what authorities say is one of the largest counterfeit credit card schemes in North America. The suspects, who lived in California and British Columbia, allegedly stole credit card numbers from various institutions, including Portland Teachers CU, and used the accounts to ring up millions of dollars in fraudulent purchases in San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Calgary and Vancouver between 1998 and 2001.

Charged in the scheme were Sun Keung Lee, 44, of Vancouver, British Columbia; Eva Yok Yau Eng, 54, of Lafayette, Calif.; and Sandy Ru Zhong, 41, of San Lorenzo, Calif. Lee first came to the notice of authorities when he was shot by an unknown assailant in December 1998 in his apartment where police found equipment to make counterfeit cards, including computers, printers, and a magnetic strip reader, sheets of stolen credit card data, unembossed Visa and MasterCards, and a device to cut plastic cards. The credit card data had also been stolen from American Express, CitiBank, Wells Fargo, and Capitol One. In 2001 Canadian authorities raided a counterfeit manufacturing plant in Vancouver tied to Lee and Zhong where they found thousands of bogus cards and more stolen account information.

Teller Charged With Robbing Vault

KEY WEST, Fla.-A Keys FCU employee was charged with stealing $6,000 from the credit union's vault last Monday and Tuesday so she could help her boyfriend buy crack cocaine.

Nineteen-year-old Holly Spettel originally told police cash was missing because she accidentally gave a member $10,000 in error for a $5,000 withdrawal. Police later arrested Spettel's 23-year-old boyfriend and charged him with grand theft.

Member Charged In e-Bay Scam

WESTBURY, N.Y.-A member of Nassau Educators FCU was charged in an Internet fraud for allegedly cashing checks for customers on e-Bay and depositing them into her credit union account without delivering any merchandise. Alexis Levine, 25, of Farmingdale, was charged with scheming to defraud. Levine allegedly advertised musical instruments, cell phones, computers, theme park tickets and other items. There were 14 victims.

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