Former Credit Union Employee Pleads Guilty to Federal Bank Fraud Charge
ALBUQUERQUE—Louisa Gabaldon, 43, of Belen, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to a federal bank fraud charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Gabaldon was indicted on Aug. 7, 2013, and charged with 12 counts of bank fraud. The indictment alleged that from Jan. 2004 through July 2010, Gabaldon engaged in an illegal scheme to defraud her employer, the Belen Railroad Employees Credit Union (Credit Union) by making fraudulent withdrawal of funds from accounts belonging to the Credit Union’s customers.
Today, Gabaldon pled guilty to Count 5 of the indictment charging her with fraudulently withdrawing $31,000 from a customer’s account on July 31, 2006. The plea agreement, however, requires Gabaldon to pay $118,376.56 in restitution to cover losses associated with all 12 counts in the indictment as well as related losses suffered by the Credit Union.
In entering her guilty plea, Gabaldon admitted that, while employed by the Credit Union, she had loan approval which permitted her—when authorized by customers—to make withdrawals from customers’ accounts, transfer funds among their accounts, increase the amount of their loan accounts and open new loans in their names. Gabaldon admitted that, without the knowledge or permission of Credit Union customers, she added amounts to customers’ existing loan accounts and opened new loans in their names and used the funds to pay for her own debts and to make a partial payment for the purchase of a home. In order to conceal her fraudulent activity, Gabaldon moved funds among customers’ accounts to make it appear as if loans had been repaid or funds were replaced.
At sentencing, Gabaldon faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. She remains on conditions of release pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean J. Sullivan.