A Wake Forest, North Carolina man pleaded guilty on June 24, 2020, to theft and embezzlement from a credit union in Zebulon, NC.
According to court documents, Johnnie Earl Harrell, 47, served as branch manager of the credit union. From 2008 to 2019, Harrell exploited his position to steal and embezzle at least $645,000 in funds belonging to the credit union and its customers.
Among Harrell’s victims were individuals convinced by Harrell to rollover existing retirement accounts into annuities. Harrell never purchased the annuities, but instead converted the funds to personal use. Harrell prepared fraudulent annuity account statements that were periodically presented to victims to preclude detection of the theft.
Harrell pleaded guilty to theft and embezzlement from a credit union and faces up to thirty years in prison when he is sentenced during the court’s November or December term.
Robert J. Higdon, Jr., US Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after US Magistrate Judge Robert Jones accepted the plea. The United States Department of Homeland Security, the North Carolina Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations, and the Zebulon Police Department are investigating the case. Assistant US Attorney Toby Lathan is prosecuting the case.
Source: The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina