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Former CEO of Roanoke-area credit union pleads guilty to misuse of funds

The former CEO of a Roanoke Valley credit union has admitted that she used a business credit card and Amazon account to make personal purchases of running shoes, tickets for sporting events and other items.

Kelly Givens, 37, of Salem, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of misapplication of more than $1,000 in funds from the FedStar Federal Credit Union.

Starting in 2016, Givens was CEO of the credit union, which has branches in Roanoke and Salem, according to a news release Monday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Between 2018 and 2020 she used a FedStar credit card and FedStar business Amazon account for personal purchases totaling more than $12,000, court records state.

Among the personal items were a purchase from a photography store, running shoes, hiking shoes, tickets for sporting events, a patio umbrella, a smart television and an i-pod.

As part of an effort to conceal her thefts, Givens provided false information to FedStar’s Board of Directors and the National Credit Union Administration, U.S. Attorney Chris Kavanaugh said in the news release.

Her guilty plea to what’s called an information came after she waived her right to be indicted. At sentencing, Givens could face a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

However, a plea agreement in the case calls for a sentence of between four and 24 months. If U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Dillon decides not to go along with that recommendation, the plea agreement would be rejected and Givens would have an opportunity to withdraw her guilty plea.

Givens, who has no prior criminal history, was allowed to remain free on bond after Friday’s hearing.

A representative with FedStar — which is now known as InFirst Federal Credit Union, according to its website — could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The credit union is a member-owned cooperative that serves active and retired federal employees and their family members, as well as other Roanoke Valley residents. Chartered in 1935, it has more than 14,000 members nationwide and assets of more than $224 million, its website states.

Givens’ attorney, Correy Diviney of Roanoke, declined to comment.

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Laurence Hammack covers environmental issues, including the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and business and enterprise stories. He has been a reporter for The Roanoke Times for more than three decades.

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