A 66-year-old former ex-vice president of the Houston Police Federal Credit Union has been ordered to federal prison for embezzlement that occurred for approximately 18 years, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Cheryl Vickers was charged in a criminal information that was filed Dec. 7, 2015. She pleaded guilty Jan. 20, 2016.

Today, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon ordered Vickers to serve 41 months in prison and to pay $1,247,785 in restitution to the Houston Police Federal Credit Union. Prior to today’s sentencing, Vickers made a lump sum payment of $949,148 into the registry of the court to be applied toward the restitution owed.

At the time of her plea, she admitted that between January 1997 and February 2015 she embezzled at least $1,247,785 from the Houston Police Federal Credit Union while employed there as vice-president of accounting.

The embezzlement was ultimately discovered following her retirement in February 2015. At that time, a credit union customer brought in a “stale” check to have it re-issued. A “stale” check is an old check that has been issued by the credit union but never cashed. When credit union records showed that Vickers had already reissued the stale check, the credit union conducted an audit of Vickers’ banking activity.

The audit revealed that from January 1997 until her retirement, Vickers had embezzled at least $1,247,785 by various means, including, but not limited to, re-issuing stale checks. The credit union maintained a ledger of its stale checks which showed that Vickers reissued stale checks to credit card companies to pay her personal credit card bills. This included a Feb. 4, 2015, reissued stale check in the amount of $7,800 to pay her Chase Bank credit card bill. Some of the reissued checks even had her credit card number hand-written on them.

Vickers admitted that while employed at the Houston Police Federal Credit Union, she took credit union money without authorization or permission.

She was permitted to remain on bond pending her surrender to federal prison.