The federal court filing came just weeks before Nita Rae Nirschl, 66, was scheduled to go to trial in January.
WICHITA — A former Southeast Kansas woman accused of embezzling more than $5 million from a now-defunct credit union notified the court last week she plans to change her plea.
The federal court filing on Wednesday came just weeks before Nita Rae Nirschl, 66, was scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 30. The Miami woman is accused in an 81-count federal indictment of embezzlement and money laundering.
The crimes allegedly took place while Nirschl managed the Parsons Pittsburg Credit Union based in Parsons.
The credit union was placed in conservatorship and ultimately liquidated in March 2014 after an audit found it insolvent. The audit revealed that from 2010 to December 2014 Nirschl allegedly embezzled more than $5 million and deposited the money into her personal accounts.
A federal grand jury indicted Nirschl on March 28. 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.
Nirschl worked for Parsons Credit Union from April 17, 2000, to Jan. 24, 2014, when she was interviewed by credit union examiners about her gambling activities, among other things. 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 federal court filings. Examiners found about $10 million in non-member deposits were missing from the credit union that had assets of $13.5 million, 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 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 and The Stables Casino in Miami, Downstream Casino in Quapaw, Harrah’s New 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.
Golden Plains Credit Union eventually took over operation of the Parsons Credit Union.
A change-of-plea hearing in Nirschl’s case was held at 9:45 a.m. Monday before U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten in Wichita, where she pleaded guilty to three of the 81 charges.
Sentencing for Nirschl will be March 5.