Former Washington CEO Faces Theft & Arson Charges

Former Washington CEO Faces Theft & Arson Charges
July 27, 2017 Marketing GrafWebCUSO

A former president/CEO of a Washington credit union who allegedly stole more than $350,000 and burned bank documents during an NCUA examination will be arraigned in a county court on July 31 for theft and arson, according to police and prosecutors.

Krista Stephanie Putnam, former president/CEO of the $3.3 million Grays Harbor Woodworkers Federal Credit Union in Aberdeen, was charged with two counts of first-degree theft and one count of second-degree arson, Katherine L. Svoboda, prosecuting attorney for Grays Harbor County, said.  Putnam, 38, was arrested by Aberdeen Police on Monday.

An audit conducted by Washington certified public accountants, Aiken & Sanders, found Putnam allegedly stole more than $350,000, according to an Aberdeen police investigator’s report obtained by the CU Times.

At 8:30 a.m. on March 29, 2016, NCUA examiner Michael Fetter and Michael J. Dyer, an NCUA associate regional director for programs, arrived at the GHWFCU. After they knocked on the credit union’s front door, which was locked, Putnam came from the back of the building and told Fetter and Dyer there was a fire in the credit union.

“Myself, ARDP Dyer and Putnam walked around to the back of the building,” Fetter wrote in his statement to police. “ARDP Dyer pushed open the door at that point to peek into the credit union. We could not see any flames but the smoke was building.”

Soon after the firefighters doused the flames, they suspected the blaze was deliberately set though it caused only minor damage.

Dyer told fire and police investigators he was at the credit union with Fetter because of “concerns about potential financial irregularities.” The day before the fire, Fetter arrived unannounced at the credit union and requested to see bank reconciliation documents.

“I considered the fire suspicious and asked whether he (the fire official in charge at the scene) could tell if the fire had been intentionally set,” Dyer wrote in his police statement. “He indicated he could not say with any certainty but the information I provided was interesting.”

The documents examiners requested were burned in the fire, according to an Aberdeen police incident report.

Putnam told investigators she arrived at the credit union at about 7 a.m. to make copies of a year’s worth of bank statements for NCUA examiners. She also told police she left the credit union at 8 a.m. to do something at her house and returned at 8:30 when she saw smoke in the credit union and called 911.

The police investigation also revealed that Putnam allegedly wrote five fraudulent loans in a member’s name. In addition, that member, a business owner, hired Putnam to pay bills for his company, but police discovered Putnam allegedly made unauthorized payments to herself for more than $11,000 from the business owner’s account.

In January, GH Woodworkers Federal Credit Union was merged into the $136 million Great NorthWest Federal Credit Union also based in Aberdeen.