Seward Woman Sentenced for Embezzlement
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that Crystal Lankford was sentenced today by United States District Judge John M. Gerrard to 45 months in federal prison followed by 5 years of supervised release. Lankford was also ordered to make restitution in the amount of $635,998.56. In September, Crystal Lankford pled guilty to Embezzlement from a Federally Insured Credit Union.
Crystal Lankford was the sole employee, Manager and Treasurer of the H.B.E. Credit Union in Seward, Nebraska. From at least April 12, 2006, to September 20, 2011, Lankford began to write checks, drawn on the operating account of HBE at Union Bank and Trust, to herself and her husband, Steve Lankford without the approval or authorization of HBE Credit Union or its officers. The funds from the account represented the moneys, funds and credits of HBE. Lankford then deposited the money fraudulently obtained from the checks into her own checking account. Crystal Lankford continued to take money out the Credit Union in this unauthorized manner until October of 2011, when she quit the Credit Union. Records revealed that she knew that the HBE account at Union Bank had practically a zero balance at the time she quit. In all, she stole $635,998.56 from the Credit Union. The accounts and monies of the HBE Credit Union were insured by the National Credit Union Administration.The investigation of this matter was conducted by the Nebraska State Patrol and Federal Bureau of Investigation.