Credit union employee made $88,000 in fraudulent purchases on company card, deputies say

Suspect accused of buying gift cards

James Michael Guest (Polk County Sheriff's Office)

POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A man used his company credit card to buy more than $88,000 worth of gift cards and other items while working as an IT manager at a local credit union, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said 43-year-old James Michael Guest began working at Magnify Credit Union, now PenFed Credit Union, in 2013 and in his role, he was given a company credit card for business-related purchases.

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At some point, bank officials noticed discrepancies among the receipts Guest submitted for Home Depot gift cards, records show. The credit union’s CEO confronted Guest and told him he could pay back the company but Guest declined and he was fired, a news release said.

At that point, records show an audit was conducted that determined Guest spent $88,181.69 on personal purchases in 2018 and 2019. Deputies said the gift cards were for Hotels.com, iTunes, Starbucks, Uber and other restaurants and entertainment companies and $40,170.82 of them were purchased from Home Depot while $12,769.98 worth were bought at Walmart.

Guest is also accused of buying $35,240.89 worth of items on Amazon using the company card.

“While this credit union was helping people with their financial matters, their employee was taking advantage of the company credit card and helping himself to almost $90,000. Cheating and stealing is wrong on so many levels,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Guest is facing charges of conspiracy to commit grand theft between $20,000 - $100,000, scheming to defraud over $50,000 and fraudulent use of a credit card.

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