New Castle News

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May 2, 2012

Woman indicted over missing credit union funds

NEW CASTLE — A second woman has been charged in connection with missing money from a defunct Lawrence County credit union.

Stacy L. Attisano, 42, of 1656 Houk Road, Portersville, faces charges of embezzlement and income tax evasion in a five-count federal indictment. The charges against Attisano were announced Tuesday by United States Attorney David J. Hickton in Pittsburgh.

The indictment charges that Attisano embezzled more than $1,000 from the Lawrence County School Employee Federal Credit Union, where she was employed as assistant manager.

Attisano also was charged with tax evasion for the years 2006 through 2009.

Last month, another woman who worked at the credit union entered a guilty plea to federal charges. Holly Cowan of 1846 Fairview School Road, Ellwood City, pleaded guilty to embezzling and tax evasion counts.

Former chief executive officer and board member, Cowan admitted to taking $222,888 from the credit union. She also admitted to filing a false tax return for 2009.

Cowan’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 17 in Pittsburgh. A pre-sentence report is being drawn up for Cowan in preparation of this court appearance. The report will guide the judge as to the level of penalty.

Cowan could see a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for embezzlement and another five years on the tax evasion count. She also faces fines and restitution costs.

For Attisano, the law provides for a maximum total sentence of 50 years in prison, a fine of $2 million or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaun E. Sweeney is prosecuting Attisano’s case.

The Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to Attisano’s indictment.

In March 2010, federal regulators shut down the Lawrence County School Employees Federal Credit Union, and reached an agreement with First Choice Federal Credit Union to take over the defunct entity’s accounts and operations.

Formed in 1937, the Lawrence County School Employees Federal Credit Union had about 1,900 clients at the time it was dissolved. In the final quarter of 2009, it recorded a net loss of $3.4 million.

Despite the financial losses, individuals with accounts in the school employees credit union lost no money, because the funds were federally insured.

In a related matter, both Cowan and Attisano face a civil lawsuit filed by Cumis Insurance Society Inc. of Madison, Wis., over the missing credit union funds.

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