Former credit union employee charged with stealing more than $1M

Thomas V. Bona

A former employee of Rock Valley Federal Credit Union is charged with stealing more than $1 million from her employer over 15 years by falsely stating credit card balances.

Lisa Farel, the credit union’s former card services coordinator, was charged in U.S. District Court on Oct. 8. The alleged thefts were incremental, occurring from 1993 until July, according to the filing.

“She inflated our books by $1 million and she walked off with the million dollars through a series of events,” President and CEO Charles Garlock said. “In essence, it’s a matter of our loan portfolio being overstated by $1 million.”

Farel resigned in July. Garlock said there was no suspicion of wrongdoing at the time.

None of the credit union’s 14,000 members are on the hook for the money, Garlock said. Individual cardholders did not see their balances adjusted.

Also, it won’t affect members’ deposits or shares, Garlock said, because the credit union is federally insured.

“We expect our money back, it’s pretty cut and dried,” he said. “We want our members and the public to rest assured that all funds are safe and secure, and that all appropriate measures have been put in place to insure that our internal security protocols are both effective and ongoing.”

The credit union has about $77 million in total assets, according to a June quarterly filing with the National Credit Union Association.

Besides the main office in Loves Park, the credit union has branches in Machesney Park and Rochelle.

Farel could not be reached for comment today and online court records did not list her attorney. An initial hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Thomas V. Bona may be contacted at (815) 987-1343