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Ousted Whistleblower Awarded $1M

DECATUR, Ala.-The former manager of Family Security CU was awarded $1 million for damages she suffered after the credit union turned the tables on her and fired her for reporting suspicious activity.

Karen Brackin reported allegations of a massive check-kiting scheme involving local used car dealer Gregory Steenson for which Steenson and fellow car dealer Robert Cagle were later sentenced to prison.

When Brackin, who worked at the credit union for 24 years, reported her suspicions to the board and supervisory committee they accused her of the same improprieties, including forging members signatures on loans, placing loans in the names of members, giving kickbacks to agents and employees for car loans, extending due dates on loans, improperly handling repossessed cars.

As a result, she was suspended with pay Sept. 15, 1999, then fired in December 1999. The state court jury awarded her $800,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages.

CO-OP Fights Debit Card Fraud

ONTARIO, Calif.-Seeking to fight debit card fraud, the CO-OP Network is introducing the Falcon Fraud Manager system to member credit unions. Developed by Fair, Isaac and Co., Inc., Falcon Fraud Manager prevents losses by calculating and assigning scores to incoming transactions using both data-modeling and member profile histories.

"The result of the system is a neural network that quickly identifies potentially fraudulent activity while generating fewer false positives on cardholder transactions," the CO-OP Network said. Detailed reports on suspicious activity are continuously maintained by the system for close monitoring by expert fraud analysts.

CU Reps Lobby In Oregon Capital

BEAVERTON, Ore.-Representatives of credit unions across Oregon are traveling to Salem, the state capital, to lobby for Senate Bill 331which would allow credit unions to accept deposits from a variety of public entities.

The lobbying will be part of the CU Association of Oregon-sponsored Credit Union Day at the Capitol. Oregon law currently prohibits public entities from depositing funds into credit unions.

The CUAO noted that some state legislatures have passed legislation to allow credit unions to accept public funds.

CU Fraud In Missing Person Case

DURHAM, N.C.-The husband of a missing Durham Symphony Orchestra musician was charged with fraud in connection with three homemade checks he tried to cash at Federal Employees Credit Union last month.

Police said the charges against Robert Petrick were connected to the investigation into the dissapearance of Petrick's wife, Janine Sutphen, the well-known cellist in the symphony, but would not explain how.

Petrick was charged with trying to cash three forged checks totaling $49,000, which he admitted to producing on his home computer. Sutphen has been missing since Jan. 22 after leaving a rehearsal.

Her car was found in a downtown parking lot a week later. Petrick is being held on $100,000 cash bail.

"McCredit Union" Offers Fast Cash

NEW YORK-Actors FCU has become the cash provider of choice for New York's McDonald's restaurants and in the process the most prolific ATM-deployer in the city that never sleeps. The $75- million CU has deployed its popular ATMs in 80 Manhattan McDonald's and plans to put machines in another 25 by the end of April, according to Steve Sobota, spokesman for the CU. Included is the busiest McDonalds in the country underneath the credit union's Times Square offices. "Our motivation is not to be No. 1 in ATMs. Our motivation is how to service our members the best way we can," Sobota told The Journal. The surcharge-free machines, all connected with credit union-owned CO-OP Network, are also available to other credit unions under various sharing arrangements, he said. The ubiquitous machines, all Korean-made Comnet models, are all branded with the yellow Actors sign.

From Shoeshine Man To Good Samaritan

ANCHORAGE, Ala.-A shoe shine man at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is being hailed for his good citizenship after he found a lockbox containing an estimated $20,000 next to the Alaska USA FCU ATM last Tuesday and turned it in to authorities. Cleo Bishop, 49, a Mississippi native, has been working his stand adjacent to the credit union's ATM for almost eight years, watching as service workers replenish the cash dispenser. The credit union said it will express it appreciation to Bishop with some kind of reward.

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