Hawaii Woman Sentenced To Prison For Stealing Over $1 Million From A Molokai Credit Union
HONOLULU – Janell Purdy, 40, a resident of Wailuku, Hawaii, was sentenced today to 50 months’ imprisonment for her role in conspiring to embezzle from the First Hawaiian Homes Federal Credit Union on Molokai. As part of her sentence, Purdy must also pay $949,736.36 in restitution and serve 3 years of supervised release. Purdy’s co-conspirator, Allennie Naeole, 55, of Kaunakakai, Hawaii, previously pled guilty to conspiracy and aggravated identity theft, and was sentenced on June 13, 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment, 3 years of supervised release, and payment of $1,055,188.12 in restitution.
According to court documents and information presented in court, from June 2008 through December 2015, Naeole and Purdy agreed to embezzle more than $1 million from the First Hawaiian Homes Federal Credit Union (the “Credit Union”). Throughout the conspiracy, Purdy and Naeole were the only two permanent employees of the Credit Union and were responsible for all the daily banking activities, including maintaining the Credit Union’s books and records. Naeole ran the Credit Union while Purdy was the teller and customer service representative. Purdy and Naeole overdrafted accounts in violation of bank policies and issued unauthorized checks from the Credit Union’s financial accounts. They spent the money on personal expenses, including credit card payments, trips, car payments, mortgage payments, vacation property payments, and various bills. They concealed the embezzlement by creating fictitious deposit and loan entries in the Credit Union’s books and records.
To further conceal their conduct, Naeole created a fake email account to communicate with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). She also submitted a fictitious letter to an NCUA regulator forging a Bank of Hawaii branch manager’s signature and listing Credit Union investment assets at the Molokai branch of the Bank of Hawaii, even though she knew those assets did not exist. In December 2015, the scheme was uncovered by a regulator from the NCUA. As a result of the embezzlement, the Credit Union had become insolvent and was shut down. At the time of its dissolution, it had served the local community for over 75 years and had approximately 1,400 members. The loss and liquidation expenses related to Naeole and Purdy’s conduct exceeded $2 million.
At Purdy’s sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson stated that the results of the conspiracy were “catastrophic.” He stated that Purdy did not seem to understand the root cause of her conduct in continuing “to march along in her spendthrift ways,” even after she knew she was under investigation and would be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. He also agreed with the government that Purdy’s motivation to steal appeared to be “greed.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Treasury Department – Office of Investigations, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca A. Perlmutter.