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CEO Of Veterans Credit Union Gets Prison For $2 Million Theft

DETROIT (WWJ) - The former president and CEO of the Veterans Health Administration Credit Union will spend just over two years in prison for stealing nearly $2 million.

The Attorney General's office says Fuataina Afutiti of Westland, who worked out a plea deal for embezzling the money, will also have to pay $1.9 million in restitution. The agreement calls for Afutiti to spend 30 months to up to 20 years in prison.

Investigators say Afutiti used the money on luxury cars, gambling and vacations. The missing money was found during an audit by the state Department of Insurance and Financial Services. The credit union closed earlier this year after the embezzlement was discovered.

"This person not only took advantage of her position within the credit union but took advantage of military veterans, many of who are disabled or on a fixed income," Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement. "Individuals who served and sacrificed for this country deserve the utmost respect and instead the members of the credit union were victimized. I am pleased to see this verdict."

Case Background

Afutiti's misconduct was uncovered in February 2016 by a routine audit at the Veterans Health Administration Credit Union conducted by Credit Union Examiners from the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS). The audit revealed significant irregularities and cash shortfalls at the credit union. Afutiti was the president and CEO of the credit union during 2012-2016 when the shortfalls were discovered. She was questioned about it but could not provide a logical explanation, said Scheutte.

After that a financial background investigation into Afutiti was conducted. It revealed that from 2012-2016, she leased or bought several vehicles including a 2013 Mercedes Benz. The state says Afutiti also used money embezzled from the credit union to purchase a $100,000 motor home, finance personal vacations and gambling.

All memberships of the credit union were immediately transferred to the Public Credit Union. Any members who continue to have questions about their loan and share accounts can contact Public Service Credit Union at 734-641-6335. Members with additional questions about the credit union's closure can contact the DIFS toll-free hotline at 877-999-6442.

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