PARSONS — Nita R. Nirschl, who managed the former Parsons Credit Union at 3030 Main, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for embezzling more than $5 million from the defunct institution.
The 81-count indictment came down Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Wichita. It was released Wednesday. Nirschl is charged with 22 counts of embezzlement, 37 counts of money laundering and 18 counts of interstate transportation of stolen property. She’s also accused of four counts of attempting to evade taxes by failing to report income. She was not arrested on the indictment but received a summons to appear in court on April 12 in Wichita.
Nirschl, 64, allegedly committed the crimes while she worked for the credit union based in Parsons. The credit union, established in 1951, was based in Parsons and had a branch in Pittsburg. In September 2013, the Parsons Pittsburg Credit Union had 1,470 members and assets of $13.5 million, according to the National Credit Union Administration.
The National Credit Union Association had begun an unannounced examination of the credit union in January 2014 and interviewed Nirschl about her gambling activities. Nirschl reported that she and her husband had winnings and losses of $16 million in 2012 from gambling. She told examiners they normally broke even, according to the federal court filings. Examiners found about $10 million in non-member deposits were missing from the credit union, an FBI special agent said in an affidavit filed in federal court at the time and quoted by The Associated Press in May 2014.
In April 2014, federal agents searched Nirschl’s former home in Parsons on Willowbrook. The search netted two cashier’s checks totaling $130,000, gold coins, silver coins, a Prada handbag, a vehicle, documents showing the purchase of U.S. savings bonds and other paperwork, according to an affidavit quoted by the AP.
The 22-page indictment filed Tuesday alleged that Nirschl embezzled more than $5 million.
The Parsons Sun has fielded many questions since then about if charges had been filed against Nirschl. U.S. Attorney spokesperson James Cross would never say anything about the investigation, but confirmed several times that charges had not been filed.
It’s been three years since Nirschl left the credit union, which was then liquidated.
“It was a complex investigation,” Cross said.
The indictment alleges that more than $5 million was embezzled but the documentation with the indictment only shows about $2 million of transfers and withdrawals involving Nirschl’s credit union funds.
“The indictment does not attempt to track all the transactions in which the defendant is alleged to have taken money from her employer,” Cross said Wednesday. “Instead, the indictment focuses on specific transactions that investigators have researched and documented for the purpose of prosecuting the case.”
An affidavit filed in May 2014 related to the search of Nirschl’s former home in Parsons alleged that the credit union was missing $10 million in funds.
Nirschl worked for Parsons Credit Union from April 17, 2000, to Jan. 24, 2014, when she was interviewed by credit union examiners.
Following an audit that found the credit union insolvent, and that it had no prospect of restoring operations, the facility was placed in conservatorship on Jan. 24, 2014, and liquidated March 21, 2014. Golden Plains Credit Union took over its operation at that time.
The audit revealed that the embezzlement occurred from 2010 to December 2013. The indictment alleges she deposited money stolen from the credit union into her personal accounts. She withdrew the funds as cash or from ATMs at Harrah’s North Kansas City casino, Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma, The Stables Casino in Miami, Downstream Casino in Quapaw, Oklahoma, Harrah’s News Orleans casino and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe casino. Some casinos offer VIP cards that allow customers to withdraw money from their accounts to avoid using ATMs.
The first 22 counts of the indictment detail when the money was taken and the embezzlement allegedly began as early as Nov. 8, 2010, when Nirschl deposited $17,200 of credit union funds into her credit union account. In 22 transactions listed in the indictment, the last of which was Dec. 18, 2013, Nirschl allegedly moved $1,093,082.90 in credit union funds to her own account at the credit union.
The first transfer, $17,200, was the smallest. The largest, $144,718, was transferred on Sept. 24, 2013. Transfers became more frequent toward the end of her tenure at the credit union.
Nirschl made one transfer in 2010, two in 2011 (totaling $36,246), four in 2012 (totaling $170,181) and 15 in 2013 (totaling $869,455.90). In 2013, she made two transfers in one day, Aug. 12, totaling $87,521.
The 37 money laundering counts allege Nirschl withdrew $452,918 at various casinos from credit union money she had deposited into her account between Aug. 7, 2011, and Nov. 24, 2013. She also deposited funds into her accounts at Labette Bank and Great Plains Credit Union in Joplin. The Great Plains deposit was to make a house payment. In another transaction, Nirschl allegedly used $41,128.61 in embezzled funds to buy a 2013 Acura MDX.
The indictment shows Nirschl deposited $287,000 into her account at Labette Bank in five transactions. In one day, Nov. 26, 2013, she made two deposits totaling $92,000, according to the indictment. This was after a trip to Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Casino in Nevada, where she withdrew $20,000 from her credit union account. In total, the indictment alleges she laundered $801,046.61 in credit union funds.
The bulk of these transactions occurred in 2013.
The 18 counts of interstate transportation of stolen property allege Nirschl withdrew the embezzled Parsons Credit Union money from ATMs at Harrah’s North Kansas City Casino in Missouri and Harrah’s New Orleans Casino in New Orleans. The transactions totaled $90,093.86 from Jan. 29, 2011, to Dec. 16, 2013.
In the four attempted tax evasion charges, the indictment alleges Nirschl omitted earned income on her 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 tax returns.
In 2010, Nirschl filed a joint return and reported $85,865 in income and received a refund of $16,305. She omitted $53,662 in income and owes an additional tax of $13,480, the indictment shows.
In 2011, Nirschl filed a joint return and reported $90,536 in income and received a refund of $8,112. She omitted $1,268,977 in income and owes an additional tax of $430,820, the indictment shows.
In 2012, Nirschl filed a joint return and reported $99,026 in income and received a refund of $40,673. She omitted $1,880,235 in income and owes an additional tax of $645,065, the indictment shows.
In 2013, Nirschl filed a joint return and reported $109,637 in income and received a refund of $75,852. She omitted $4,168,001 in income and owes an additional tax of $1,622,324, the indictment shows.
The indictment also shows a forfeiture action and the government is seeking a money judgment for many of the counts. The government is also seeking real property at 58900 East 101 Road in Miami, Oklahoma, a home the Nirschls bought in March 2014, according to Ottawa County, Oklahoma, tax records. The house sits on about two acres of land and is in proximity to Buffalo Run and The Stables casinos.
Zillow, a website that includes real estate listings, shows the house on East 101 Road has four bedrooms and three baths. It last sold in March 2014 for $237,500.
The government also seeks forfeiture of the 2013 Acura MDX; $130,000 seized on April 11, 2014; a Prada handbag; $224,834.40 as a substitute for the real property in Parsons on Willowbrook where the Nirschls formerly lived; eight gold coins; and 140 1-ounce silver coins.
Embezzlement carries a penalty of up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million on each count.
Money laundering and interstate transportation carry a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
Attempting to evade taxes could result in a prison term of five years and a fine of up to $100,000.
The FBI and the IRS investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch is prosecuting.
The court record does not show an attorney for Nirschl.