Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coast Lines

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Coast Lines

Article excerpt

"We cannot declare victory by reaching the national average. We

are better than that. We have a long way to go."

-- University System Chancellor Stephen Portch, speaking to the

Board of Regents about the quality of education in Georgia.

Story on this page.

EMBEZZLEMENT CASE

A Yulee woman pleaded guilty this week to embezzling more than

$21,000 from the Kings Bay branch of the Navy-Marine Corps

Relief Society.

Janet Sekula, 44, was accused of stealing the money from

February 1996 to March 1997 by preparing fraudulent grant

documents in the names of fictitious and real persons and

cashing the checks, according to an indictment from the U.S.

District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.

Sekula managed the branch office seven years before being fired

last year, said Ken Robinson, vice president of personnel and

administration for the society.

Staff members discovered the loss during routine loan follow-up

procedures, Robinson said. The crime was investigated by Naval

Criminal Investigative Service officials from Mayport Naval

Station.

Sekula has offered to repay all funds, Robinson said.

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society provides emergency

financial assistance to active duty and retired sailors, Marines

and their family members, he said.

The organization gave out more than $263,000 in interest-free

loans and $30,000 in grants to sailors at Kings Bay last year to

pay for emergency travel and living expenses, said Ray Meaux, a

budget counselor for the organization.

At no time were Kings Bay sailors or their families deprived of

financial assistance as a result of the embezzlement, Meaux

said.

Sekula, who could not be reached for comment, faces up to five

years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing will be in

August. …

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