Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that the Honorable Peter V. Ryan, J.S.C., sentenced Colleth Merle Rhodes, 54, of Staten Island, N.Y. and Elizabeth, N.J., to 7 years in state prison for one count of second degree theft.
While working as an account manager at XCEL Federal Credit Union in Bloomfield, Rhodes made a series of transactions between 2005 and 2010, transferring nearly $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, N.Y. 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.
The defendant pleaded guilty to the theft on June 11, 2012, stating that a shopping obsession contributed to her offense.
“This was a significant abuse of her employer’s trust and the penalty reflects that abuse,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Robert L. Grady, who handled the case.