Credit Union President Sentenced to Prison for Embezzlement
PHOENIX, AR (STL.News) Susan Irene Romero, 64, of Gilbert, Arizona, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi to 26 months in prison and ordered to pay $2,360,000 in restitution. Romero pleaded guilty in May 2021 to embezzlement of credit union funds.
Romero worked for the Winslow Santa Fe Credit Union for more than 30 years, mostly in leadership roles, including as manager, president, and chief executive officer. During a routine audit, the credit union found discrepancies in the financial records. A subsequent investigation showed that, over the course of many years, Romero embezzled more than $2.2 million from the credit union. In her plea agreement, Romero admitted that she stole the money through unauthorized cash withdrawals, checks issued with forged signatures of other employees, and transfers from the credit union account to her family members’ accounts. She covered her tracks through false entries in the financial statements, such as falsifying the amount of cash stored in the vault and offsetting the stolen money with fictitious assets.
The U.S. Secret Service conducted the investigation in this case. The Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Section of the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Phoenix, handled the prosecution.