Woman Says She Embezzled $1 Million From Her Bank to Fuel Shopping Addiction

January 26, 2016 Updated: January 26, 2016

A woman who said she had an addiction to shopping might face as many as 30 years behind bars.

Donna Jennings, 44, worked at Northern Virginia’s Winchester Community Federal Credit Union between 2001 and 2014. She admitted to embezzling more than $1 million from the bank to fund her shopping addiction, including credit card bills, she told NBC Washington.

Her embezzlement scheme helped put the bank out of business, according to court records obtained by the station.

Jennings pleaded guilty to embezzlement in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, and now faces 30 years in prison. She also faces a $1 million fine when she’s sentenced.

According to MailOnline, she often took out money from teller drawers and fraudulently collected loan advances, ranging from $5,000 to $70,000. Jennings was in a “position of trust” at the bank because she managed its accounting and reported to its board of directors.

“Jennings’ conduct substantially jeopardized the safety, soundness, and solvency of Winchester Community Federal Credit Union,” prosecutors said of Jennings’ case.

“As a result of Jennings’ conduct,” they added, “the National Credit Union Administration placed WCFCU into a restricted status and invited another financial institution to merge with WCFCU for the protection of its membership.”

Winchester Community Federal Credit Union. (Google Maps)
Winchester Community Federal Credit Union. (Google Maps)

According to the United States Sentencing Commission, abusing a position of trust can result in longer prison terms.

“If the defendant abused a position of public or private trust, or used a special skill, in a manner that significantly facilitated the commission or concealment of the offense, increase by 2 levels,” the website states. It adds, “This adjustment, for example, applies in the case of an embezzlement of a client’s funds by an attorney serving as a guardian, a bank executive’s fraudulent loan scheme, or the criminal sexual abuse of a patient by a physician under the guise of an examination.

“This adjustment does not apply in the case of an embezzlement or theft by an ordinary bank teller or hotel clerk because such positions are not characterized by the above-described factors,” the USSC adds.

Jennings was managing the accounting, and she was reporting to the board of directors, meaning she’s not a simple bank teller.

(H/T: IJReview)