Posted on: December 6, 2023, 08:23h.
Last updated on: December 6, 2023, 11:03h.
A former credit union manager from Rostraver Township, Penn., has been sentenced to 30 months in prison. Her crime was embezzling $399,230 from her employer of 15 years before setting a fire to cover her tracks.
Patty Lynn Mavrakis, 65, was the branch manager of the Valley 1st Community Federal Credit Union in nearby Belle Vernon. She was also a heavy gambler, according to prosecutors.
Mavrakis visited her place of work on Sept. 5, 2016, which was closed at the time for Labor Day. While there, she accessed the safe and, because she knew the location of the surveillance cameras, surreptitiously attempted to move an empty banker’s box to the floor directly in front of the open safe, according to court records.
However, “a surveillance camera … caught – for a split second – a glimpse of the box as she moved it in front of the safe,” prosecutors said.
“Later, the video shows the Defendant leave the credit union with the box, along with five other boxes. The Defendant delivered the five other boxes to the main office of the credit union. The sixth box, which was filled with cash, stayed with the Defendant,” they added.
On the following day, Mavrakis arrived at work before her colleagues and set a fire in the safe. She told her superiors that the blaze had been caused by an electrical spark from the safe’s fire alarm.
A day later, she contacted the credit union’s insurance carrier to file a claim for the cash that she asserted had been destroyed in the fire. She sent a proof of loss form, which she signed, and the claim was paid.
Mavrakis subsequently made “numerous false statements” to local and federal law enforcement as they investigated the fire, according to prosecutors.
She was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2021 on counts of embezzlement from a federal credit union, wire fraud, and use of a fire to commit a federal felony.
On June 22, Mavrakis pleaded guilty to the wire fraud count only, but prosecutors emphasized that by law the other counts could still be used against her at sentencing.
U.S. District Judge Marilyn Horan sentenced Mavrakis to serve one year of supervised release after prison and to pay $399,230 in restitution.
Prosecutors believe she likely lost all the money gambling, describing the amount she had lost at the Meadows over the years as “staggering.”