Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Credit union boss raided safe: police

Allegedly took $170K from his branch

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A former Winnipeg credit union manager has been accused of stealing tens of thousands in cold, hard cash from a safe. Aldin Amaca, 36, was formally charged Monday with theft over $5,000 from the Assiniboine Credit Union.

ACU officials suspect Amaca stole nearly $170,000 from June 2010 to Dec. 6, 2013, his final date of work as member services manager at the Whyte Ridge branch, according to a lawsuit filed by ACU.

Winnipeg police recently arrested Amaca and released him on a promise to appear in court to face the charge.

He is presumed innocent.

Police have never publicly released details of their investigation.

Documents filed in the Court of Queen's Bench, however, detail allegations of how ACU believes Amaca manipulated bank procedures for his own gain, leading to a discovery of a $168,950 cash shortfall in a general-treasury cash float at his branch.

Amaca began working for ACU in 1999. He rose through the ranks and was promoted to management in October 2007.

He was terminated for cause last December after concerns arose about him following proper protocols for wire transfers of money, court records state.

A new manager quickly replaced him.

She soon noticed a sizeable cash shortfall after doing a count of the treasury float the branch kept on hand, according to the lawsuit.

Part of Amaca's daily duties was to keep close track of the cash coming in and out of this float.

Only he and the branch general manager had the required information to physically access the float, says a sworn affidavit filed by ACU internal investigator Kathy Hnatiw.

They also needed a trusted teller to provide a combination to physically allow them access in the safe, Hnatiw said.

After the shortfall was found, Hnatiw said she looked back at records to late September 2013, when a "surprise" cash count was done by the general manager of the branch.

The numbers balanced, Hnatiw stated.

"However, I know now as a result of my investigations... that this was the result of Mr. Amaca's manipulation of the electronic banking-system records," she alleged.

Hnatiw said she then learned Amaca also kept a teller's cash box. It was found to have $7,500 in unnecessary cash, she said.

"Mr. Amaca's personal teller lockup should have contained only rolled coins and some mutilated bills," said Hnatiw.

He's suspected of transferring money between his cash box and the treasury float to make it seem as if no money was missing when routine or surprise counts were done.

ACU alleges Hnatiw found "multiple occasions" where Amaca made "false entries" of electronic-bank records around these times.

"Over the years, the amount of money Mr. Amaca had misappropriated from the Whyte Ridge Branch continued to increase," stated Hnatiw.

"As a result, the entries that he was required to make to ensure the (treasury float) balanced to the actual cash holdings became more extensive and more significant through the years," she said.

The teller trusted with the combination to the safe told the ACU investigators she wasn't always present when Amaca did his biweekly cash counts.

He'd have her enter the required combination into the safe and then send her back to the front counter to do customer service, states the lawsuit.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 8, 2014 B3

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