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NFCU Logo On Bogus Credit Cards

WASHINGTON-A husband and wife team were indicted on charges that they manufactured thousands of bogus Visa cards affixed with the Navy FCU name and logo to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting consumers and retail merchants.

The government is seeking an order to seize more than $200,000 worth of electronics and other consumer goods they say Francis Fletcher, Jr., 35, and his wife, Michele Fletcher, 30, bought with the fake credit cards.

The couple were charged with bank fraud, identity theft and credit card fraud for allegedly producing as many as 40,000 counterfeit cards, most of them with the Navy FCU logo, to buy and sell merchandise and gift cards.

The case is rare because officials at the world's largest credit union say neither the institution or its members were victimized, other than by the use of the credit union's identity on the bogus cards.

"We haven't been affected," Loren Moeller, a spokesperson for the credit union, told The Credit Union Journal, "other than the case of our logo being used on some of the cards."

A search of the couple's home turned up sophisticated equipment used to make counterfeit cards, including machinery to encode magnetic stripes, laptop computers with credit card information on them, software used to create identity cards, a "skimmer" used to capture and store credit card information, and thousands of plastic cards, many with the Navy logo.

Counterfeitter Pleads Guilty

ANN ARBOR, Mich.-The head of a check forgery ring that victimized several area credit unions and banks pleaded guilty in Saginaw County Circuit Court to charges of racketeering and fraud.

Tony Mack, 24, is believed to be the leader of a ring that cashed phony payroll checks, that they created on a home computer, at several local credit unions, including Frankenmuth CU, Gratiot County CU and several banks.

Police said Mack and his accomplices went to the secretary of state's offices and changed their addresses on their driver's licenses, then went to the credit unions and opened accounts, which they used to cash more than $18,000 in phony checks. Mack and his ring are suspected of similar scams in several other counties, as well.

Four codefendants were also convicted in the scheme: Gary McClenic, 57, Freddie Davis, 55, Keith Jefferson, 44, and Constance Cohens, 30. Mack was first caught a year ago in Frankenmuth, Mich., in May 2002, but skipped bail, and is believed to have cashed tens of thousands of dollars in bad checks during that time.

Utah CU Flees State Charter

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA said it approved a federal charter for Jordan CU, Sandy, Utah, the seventh state- chartered credit union in Utah to convert to federal charter over the past two years.

The $140 million credit union is also the fifth credit union over $100 million in assets to convert to federal charter since the onset of the state legislative battle targeting large credit unions.

Mergers Wipe Small CUs Off Map

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA said it approved another 24 mergers last month, 16 of which include small credit unions under $5 million.

That makes 84 of the 130 mergers in the first half of the year that have eliminated a small CU.

The biggest mergers approved last month include: The Summit FCU, Rochester, N.Y. ($280 million) with Buffalo Telephone Employees FCU, Buffalo, N.Y. ($55 million); Erie County School Employees FCU, Erie, Pa. ($35 million) with American Sterilizer FCU, Erie, Pa. ($25 million); Frankenmuth CU, Frankenmuth, Mich. ($80 million) with Gateway CU, Reese, Mich. ($15 million); and Ohio Valley Community CU, Clarington, Ohio ($55 million) with OMAL CU, Hannibal, Ohio ($20 million).

CUDL Cuddles With AutoNation

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.-CU Direct Lending, the nation's largest indirect lending program, has signed a marketing agreement with AutoNation to add the company's 63 auto dealerships in California, known as Power Automotive Group and AutoWest, to the 1,985 in the CUDL network.

Under the deal, CUDL will help AutoNation dealerships build relationships with credit unions in the CUDL program. CUDL claims 262 participating credit unions in California and 10 other states.

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