NEWARK, N.J. – A former account manager at XCEL FCU, who claimed a shopping obsession drove her to steal, on Friday was sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzling $3 million from the credit union.

While working as an account manager at XCEL FCU Colleth Rhodes, 54, made a series of transactions between 2005 and 2010, transferring almost $3 million to a fictitious account holder. It was learned that the fake account was in the name of a family member, who resided with Rhodes in Staten Island at the time of the thefts.

A review of the transactions Rhodes made to the account revealed that once the funds were transferred, a series of withdrawals were made via checks and ATM.

Rhodes told prosecutors a shopping obsession caused her offense.

Rhodes pleaded guilty to second-degree theft last month. She was sentenced in state Superior Court in Newark Friday.

“This was a significant abuse of her employer’s trust, and the penalty reflects that abuse,” said Assistant Prosecutor Robert Grady, who handled the case.


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