SEWARD, Neb. – The former manager, sole employee and a director of H.B.E. CU on Wednesday pleaded guilty to stealing more than $660,000 from the now-defunct credit union, which never reached $1 million in assets.

As part of a plea agreement, Chrystal Lankford, 35, told authorities she wrote checks drawn on the credit union’s account at Union Bank and Trust to herself and her husband, Steve Lankford, without the approval or authorization of the credit union or its directors. She then deposited the money into her joint checking account with her husband. Her husband also worked at H.B.E., a housing contractor, during the time of the embezzlement, but in the company’s plant, not the credit union.

Crystal Lankford acknowledged she continued to take money until October 2011, when she quit her job.

Her sentencing is scheduled for January.


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