Tampa credit unions in legal fight over stolen member data, other trade secrets

Grow Financial FCU in Tampa has filed suit in federal court against GTE Financial, alleging a former employee conspired with GTE to steal private information from the credit union, including trade secrets and private member information.

According to a copy of the complaint obtained by Credit Union Journal, former Grow Financial underwriting specialist Erica Pierson is accused of having copied and distributed confidential internal credit union documents and member information at the request of GTE. The distribution is said to have begun in August 2016 when – at the request of GTE AVP James Esner, himself a former Grow Financial manager and Pierson’s former supervisor – Pierson allegedly searched Grow Financial’s computer system for information on its lending strategy and internal loan application-processing procedures before sending those on to Esner “for implementation and use at GTE.”

Pierson is alleged to have sent the documents from her Grow Financial email account to her personal account before sending them on to Esner at GTE. Soon after, Pierson is alleged to have sent a copy of the credit union’s Dealer Scorecard and other documents containing personally identifiable information on Grow Financial Members, market research, technology and IT information and more.


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