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CREDIT UNION’S SECRETARY FACES EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGE

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The bosses at the Teamsters Local 222 Federal Credit Union may want to rethink their hiring practices.

The two people who worked at the credit union - the manager and his secretary - have been charged with embezzlement. A federal grand jury handed up an indictment against secretary Becky J. Bennett this week.Bennett, 43, embezzled approximately $50,000 between December, 1992, and August, 1993, according to the indictment.

Her boss, Gary Van Patten, pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges that he embezzled $220,909 from the credit union. He will be sentenced next week.

The two were apparently committing their alleged crimes without each other's knowledge. "The claim is that they were independent thefts," said Ron Yengich, attorney for Van Patten.

Van Patten confessed his crimes and resigned in September, 1993. Bennett was asked to leave a month later.

Despite the crimes, the credit union, 2641 S. 3270 West, is running smoothly, said Scott Wilson, interim credit union manager.

"The credit union has been conducting business as usual. We've been cooperating with authorities and assisting them in their investigation."

The stolen funds were insured, Wilson said.