Ex-credit union worker sentenced for taking $80,000
By Stan Maddux, For The News-Dispatch
A LaPorte woman was sentenced to eight years on work release Thursday in Superior Court 1 in Michigan City for siphoning nearly $80,000 from the bank accounts of employees at the South Shore Railroad.
Karrie Carder, 38, also was ordered by Judge Walter Chapala to pay $30,000 of the money she owes immediately after sentencing.
The cash was presented to the clerk's office on the first floor of the Michigan City courthouse to hold for future disbursement to the victims.
"Because of the seriousness of the crime, that was part of the bargaining process the state demanded," said her attorney, James Macalka of LaPorte.
Macalka would not sau where she obtained the money.
"I'm not going to disclose that," Macalka said.
She was sentenced under a guilty plea on Class C felony fraud on a financial institution.
According to court documents, Carder told investigators she pulled off the scheme for nearly three years at the South Shore Railroad Employees Federal Credit Union in Michigan City, where she worked as a service representative.
It was during an audit of the institution that Carder was caught. Last April, she was suspended from her job, and a week later terminated from the position she had held for 10 years, according to court documents.
Police said Carder filled out withdrawal slips and forged the signatures of the victims to withdraw several hundred dollars at a time from accounts with the largest balances to avoid detection.
Her scheme unraveled when a South Shore employee reported a potential shortfall of several hundred dollars in his account. The employee's suspicions were confirmed by the audit.
Michigan City Assistant Police Chief John Kintzele, who helped investigate the case, said Carder denied having an addiction to drugs or gambling.
Initially, Carter said she stole the money to buy groceries and pay expenses related to Little League and other activities her sons took part in, according to Kintzele.
When further pressed, Carder revealed she and her husband had a $75,000 credit card debt, with the biggest purchase being a $10,000 swimming pool at their home at 4146 N. Erin Drive, according to court documents.
Under a guilty plea, slightly more than $79,000 of the money owed by Carder will go to repay CUNA Mutual Group, the Madison, Wis., insurance agency that replenished the railroad employees' accounts.
She must also refund the credit union its $2,500 deductible required under its insurance policy.
As part of her plea agreement, Carder must come up with the nearly $50,000 balance of the funds over the duration of her sentencing.
All account holders at the bank are employees of the railroad or members of their respective families, according to credit union manager Lewis Ridenour.
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