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Sep 25, 2001

Employee held in credit union embezzlement

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Employees helping themselves to company cash is not a particularly unusual occurrence, but when someone walks away with more than half a million dollars, something is wrong, very wrong. That’s apparently what has happened at the Mount Carmel Credit Union in Benque Viejo. The missing money’s whereabouts are uncertain but at least one employee has been detained. News 5′s Janelle Chanona is just back from the west with more details.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

This small building is today the centre of attention. A routine audit by the office of the Registrar of Co-operatives has revealed that there is money missing, a lot of money.

Police tell News 5 the amount of money suspected to have been embezzled is well over a half million Belize dollars. The person or persons responsible may have been removing money from different accounts from as early as June of this year.

According to preliminary findings, monies were withdrawn from three different accounts: regular saving accounts, member share capital accounts and special mortgage privilege accounts. It seems unbelievable that someone was stealing so much money completely undetected. “Inside job” rumours are running wild, especially since police have detained an employee and are questioning several others. The detained man has been identified as Julio Santos, the assistant manager of the credit union.

Members visiting the credit union today were camera shy, but some did express concern as to how this theft would affect their money.

The employee detained is expected to be charged tomorrow with charges of theft News 5 has also learned that another employee of the credit union will be detained for questioning as well. Reporting from Benque Viejo, I am Janelle Chanona for News 5.

Police say the exact amount unaccounted for is five hundred and eighty thousand, one hundred and thirty dollars and thirty-three cents. For purposes of comparison, the dramatic break in at the Belize Bank in San Ignacio over the ninth of March weekend, netted crooks a mere two hundred and seventy-three thousand.

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