SIOUX CITY – An Iowa woman who was involved in a scheme resulting in nearly 1.5 million being embezzled from a local credit union was sentenced Friday, June 25, 2021, to three years in federal prison.
Brenda Jensen, age 53, from Denison, Iowa, received the prison term after a guilty plea to credit union embezzlement.
In a plea agreement, Jensen admitted that from at least May 2012 to March 2018, she embezzled money from Consumer Credit Union (CCU) in Denison, Iowa while working there as an employee. CCU serviced the following counties: Crawford, Carrol, Shelby, Ida, Monona, Sac, and Harrison.
Jensen and at least one other employee, including Jensen’s sister, Janine Keim, embezzled a total of nearly $1.5 million. Jensen, at times the credit union’s head teller, was responsible for all cash and cash counts at CCU during the relevant timeframe. Jensen successfully concealed her crime from auditors and CCU for years by overstating the change fund in the credit union’s general ledger balance and creating fictitious deposits into her personal accounts at CCU. This aspect of the scheme resulted in $922,480.29 in losses. After years of embezzling, the employees developed an internal kiting scheme. The kiting scheme caused CCU an additional $539,000 in losses. CCU’s total cash loss caused the institution to become insolvent, resulting in a forced merger with SAC Federal Credit Union. CCU’s assets had decreased by over a million dollars. This million-dollar decrease was a direct result of Jensen’s criminal activity.
Former board members from CCU submitted letters/victim impact statements to Chief Judge Strand setting forth the substantial harm Jensen’s crime caused the small community of Crawford County, Iowa. For some, CCU was the only institution willing to extend emergency credit. A former CCU board member recalled a story of a single mother with three children who could not get approval elsewhere to obtain an emergency loan, but who was helped by CCU. Jensen’s theft caused the insolvency of CCU and deprived the community of such financial services.
Jensen was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Jensen was sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment. She was ordered to make $1,461,480.29 in restitution. She must also serve a 2-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
Jensen was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the United States Marshal; Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ron Timmons and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation