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Associated Press, Published December 19 2012

ND woman ordered to pay back money to credit union

FARGO — A federal judge ordered a longtime employee of a North Dakota credit union on Wednesday to pay back more than $130,000 she took from the company over a 22-year period.

Georgia Schwartz, 59, of Glen Ullin, pleaded guilty in October to embezzlement and misapplication from a credit union.

According to court documents, Schwartz worked at the Glen Ullin Credit Union, now known as the Western Cooperative Credit Union, from 1986 until 2011. She began taking money from credit union accounts in 1987, authorities said.

Schwartz transferred money from credit union customers’ accounts to her own and kept two sets for records to hide the scheme from auditors, authorities said. She told investigators she paid some of the money back, including $2,000 to the daughter of one member.

“This sort of fraud can happen in any town in North Dakota, including a small town like Glen Ullin,” U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon told The Associated Press. “We're lucky to have skilled federal agents who are willing to get involved in these white collar cases and bring folks who would take from their neighbors to justice.”

A spokesman for the federal defender's office, which is representing Schwartz, declined comment.

Schwartz faced up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Her attorneys had asked for probation, noting in court documents that Schwartz cooperated with the investigation and the lawyer from the credit union requested that she not serve jail time.

Schwartz has suffered from a seizure disorder for the past 10 years that “contributed significantly to her conduct,” her attorneys said.

U.S. District Judge Patrick Conmy gave Schwartz credit for one day in custody and directed her to serve three years of supervised release. He also ordered her to sell two homes she owns to pay more than $130,000 in forfeiture, which was separate from the more than $130,000 in restitution.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.