LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A La Palma woman was found guilty of using her position at a Hawthorne-based credit union to open more than $2.7 million in credit lines to her online boyfriend.
Indira Mohabir, 42, was found guilty of 15 counts of insider and financial institution fraud after a three-day jury trial, according to Department of Justice spokesman Ciaran McEvoy. She is scheduled to be sentenced on April 5.
Charges are still pending against the online boyfriend, Philip Cook, 51, who currently lives in Las Vegas. Federal authorities say he was able to withdraw about $1 million in illicitly-obtained funds before the scheme was discovered.
According to text messages and emails introduced as evidence during the trial, Mohabir was working as a loan processor at Western Federal Credit Union, now known as Unify Financial Credit Union, when she began an online relationship with Cook in November 2014. The pair never met in person as the scheme unfolded, but corresponded daily by text, email and phone, McEvoy said.
Federal prosecutors say the couple’s romantic discussions were interwoven with discussions on how to open credit lines at the credit union, and Mohabir agreed to help Cook open those lines. Mohabir’s supervisors and a fraud investigator at the credit union testified that Mohabir opened lines of credit outside of her authority, overriding and bypassing the credit union’s internal controls to get the credit lines open.
In exchange, Cook made promises to take Mohabir on exotic trips, sent her flowers and money, including a $50,000 check drawn on one of the credit line she opened for him, prosecutors said. That check was intercepted at the credit union.
The arrangement started in November 2014 and only lasted about two months, but most of the credit lines were established, some doubled, over just a few days in January 2015, according to prosecutors.
Mohabir faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison on the conspiracy count, and a maximum of 30 years in prison for each of the fraud charges.