Second arrest made in credit union case
Published: February 26, 2014
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ST. THOMAS - A second man has been arrested in connection with Her Majesty's Credit Union, an uninsured and largely unregulated credit union that used to operate in the territory.
John Wesley Williams, the former credit union's comptroller, was arrested by the Denver Police Department on Feb. 12 on an outstanding warrant issued last year by the V.I. Superior Court.
Last February, warrants were issued for Williams and the credit union's founder, Stan McDuffie.
McDuffie was arrested and posted bail, but V.I. Justice Department investigators still were looking for Williams almost one year later. V.I. Attorney General Vincent Frazer confirmed Tuesday that Williams had been arrested in Denver.
"He waived extradition, so we have sent our agents to pick him up," Frazer said. "He will probably be arraigned next week."
The two men are accused of obtaining money by false pretenses; conspiracy; embezzlement by fiduciaries; as well as violating the territory's anti-racketeering statute - the Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
The credit union abruptly closed its doors to the public two years ago. Many of its members lost the money they had in the credit union and to date have not gotten any of it back.
In February 2012, The Daily News began to look into the credit union after getting calls from members who could no longer access their money. When a reporter called Frazer for comment, it was the first time he was made aware of the situation.
The day after an investigative report was published in the newspaper in April, Frazer announced a joint investigation with the V.I. Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
As part of the investigation, Justice officials had been in regular communication with McDuffie, and when the warrant was issued, they offered him the opportunity to turn himself in. He flew to the territory from his home in Colorado,
McDuffie, 47, was advised of his rights, posted 10 percent of his $50,000 bail, surrendered his passport to the court and signed a waiver of extradition.
Then he flew back to Colorado.
The waiver allows him to leave the territory, but if he fails to appear as required by the court, Virgin Islands officials can go to Colorado and bring him back.
Frazer said Tuesday that McDuffie's case is pending in the local court.
Frazer said previously that McDuffie and Williams are the only principals of the credit union - or its parent company, Jilapuhn - who are facing criminal charges.
A number of other Jilapuhn board members, relatives of McDuffie, are dead, he has said.
McDuffie, who is the chief executive officer of Jilapuhn, uses the aliases Stan Roberson, Stan Roberson-Battle and Stanley Battle. He is facing civil charges in federal court filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and has been jailed in the past for refusing to cooperate with state investigators in Colorado looking into possible fraud.
Between August 2008 and March 2012, Her Majesty's Credit Union collected more than $500,000 from its members, according to the affidavit filed by V.I. Justice Department Special Investigations Division Director James McCall.
There are no guarantees that the victims will get their money back, but if McDuffie is convicted of the charges against him, it is more likely, according to Justice officials.
- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.