Credit Union CEO admits to million dollar theft

Former executive used hidden transaction feature that concealed her crime for years.

Sherry Ann Allen stole more than $1.1 million from the Greater Eastern Credit Union by using a hidden transaction feature, knowing no one at the Johnson City, Tenn.-based cooperative reviewed hidden transactions, enabling her to move large sums of money into and out of accounts she controlled over seven years.

Earlier this month, the former president/CEO who joined the Johnson City, Tenn.-based credit union 30 years ago, signed an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to theft and income tax evasion. She admitted to using the stolen funds to pay for her credit card bills, her cars, her clothes, her jewelry, and she also funded cruises and trips for her church’s youth group and credit union employees. Johnson also handed out expensive gifts to employees at GECU’s Christmas party and at its annual picnic.

Johnson paid for all of this on an annual salary that ranged from $86,000 to $100,000 during her four-year tenure as CEO.

The alleged theft was initially exposed in February when the $55 million GECU took the highly unusual step of publicly disclosing that a forensic fraud investigation determined Allen stole more than $1 million.


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