December 6, 2019
LANSING — A former teller at Michigan First Credit Union has been charged with two counts of Embezzlement from a Financial Institution – a 20-year felony – for allegedly withdrawing a total of $24,000 from the account of a 92-year-old customer.
Stephanie Joyce-Bennett Beauford, 52, of Redford was arraigned in Wayne County 36th District Court last month following an investigation by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) and the Department of Attorney General's Financial Crimes Division.
Beauford had been a teller at Michigan First Credit Union since 2005. Michigan First terminated her employment following an interview in which she admitted withdrawing the funds from the account of an elderly customer, who was hospitalized at the time.
"Our office will continue to prosecute those who prey on Michigan's most vulnerable," said Nessel. "I am grateful for the diligent work of our investigators and prosecutors as we identify elder abuse – in this case financial abuse – and bring those abusers to justice."
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The alleged embezzlement was referred to the Michigan Attorney General by the state Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) in early 2018. The issue came to DIFS' attention following a complaint submitted by the victim's family. DIFS' examination discovered irregularities and referred the case to the Attorney General for criminal prosecution.
"This year, the DIFS' Fraud Investigation Unit was codified in law to investigate fraudulent and criminal activities in the financial and insurance markets," said DIFS Director Anita Fox. "Investigating consumer complaints and stopping fraud is a high priority for DIFS. This case is another example of the great partnership between DIFS and Attorney General Dana Nessel to protect Michigan consumers."
Beauford is scheduled for a Preliminary Examination Tuesday, December 10, 2019 in front of Judge Kenyetta Jones of the Wayne County 36th District Court.
Anyone who suspects elder abuse of any kind is encouraged to report it to the Attorney General's Elder Abuse tip line at mi.gov/elderabuse or 800-242-2873.
A criminal charge is merely an allegation; the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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