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2 women await sentencing for embezzling more than $1M

Employees of now-closed credit union plead guilty in federal court

Two women are awaiting sentencing in federal court after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $1 million from the now-closed First Hawaiian Homes Federal Credit Union on Molokai.

Allennie Naeole and Janell Purdy were the only two permanent employees of the credit union when the funds were embezzled over a period of at least nine years before the credit union was closed due to insolvency in December 2015.

Naeole, 55, of Kaunakakai was the manager and Purdy, 40, of Wailuku was the customer service representative at the credit union in Hoolehua.

In February, Naeole, who is also known as Kalai Naeole, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to embezzle credit union funds and aggravated identity theft.

On April 4, Purdy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to embezzle credit union funds.

In exchange for the defendants’ pleas, other charges were dismissed.

Naeole and Purdy were arrested in November after a federal grand jury returned a 15-count indictment against them.

In documents filed in U.S. District Court in Honolulu, Naeole is described as the “leader and organizer” of the conspiracy to embezzle funds from the credit union. The defendants withdrew and spent more money from personal credit union accounts in their names and family members’ names than was available in deposits. Both women controlled financial accounts and maintained the credit union’s books and records.

Purdy signed several checks issued from credit union accounts to pay for personal expenses of Naeole and her family members, according to documents. One check on Oct. 10, 2008, was for $8,855 to pay for Naeole’s Toyota Yaris.

In another example cited, Naeole withdrew $8,867 on Feb. 27, 2015, to pay part of her First Hawaiian Bank credit card.

The credit union’s books and records were altered to cover up negative balances by showing deposits being made into personal accounts of Purdy, Naeole and their family members, according to court documents.

Naeole changed the name on accounts and issued loans and fictitious repayments, according to documents. She also falsified financial reports and information provided to the credit union board of directors and the National Credit Union Administration.

On Dec. 14, 2015, in an attempt to conceal the embezzlement and false information provided to NCUA, Naeole created a fictitious letter, purportedly from the Molokai branch of Bank of Hawaii, falsely saying the credit union had investments at the bank, according to court documents. She reportedly forged the name of the Molokai branch manager on the letter.

In December 2015, the National Credit Union Administration liquidated and closed the credit union due to insolvency caused by long-term embezzlement. Loss and liquidation expenses totaled more than $2 million.

The credit union, chartered in 1937, was serving nearly 1,400 members when it was liquidated.

Naeole is scheduled to be sentenced June 13. In addition to facing a maximum prison term of five years on the conspiracy charge, she faces a mandatory consecutive two-year prison term for aggravated identity theft.

Purdy’s sentencing was set for July 18.

Both women have been released on $25,000 unsecured bonds.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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