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Michigan AG Nessel Announces Guilty Plea in Embezzlement Case

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced Stephanie Joyce-Bennett Beauford, 52, of Redford has pleaded guilty to Embezzlement from a Vulnerable Adult. The guilty plea was entered in front of visiting Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Callahan and follows charges filed against her in December 2019 for withdrawing a total of $24,000 from the account of a 92-year-old customer at Michigan First Credit Union – Beauford’s former employer.

The embezzlement was referred to the Michigan Attorney General by the state Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) in 2018. The issue came to DIFS’ attention following a complaint submitted by the victim’s family. DIFS’ examination discovered irregularities and referred the case to the Attorney General for criminal prosecution.

Beauford had been a teller at Michigan First Credit Union since 2005. Michigan First terminated her employment following an interview in which she admitted withdrawing the funds from the account of an elderly customer, who was hospitalized at the time. 

 “The last thing anyone should have to worry about while hospitalized is if their local bank teller will steal their hard-earned money,” said Nessel. “I am grateful to the Department of Insurance and Financial Services for their thorough investigation of this matter, and I am proud of my office for working diligently to ensure Ms. Beauford is held accountable for her actions.”

“Protecting vulnerable people from financial crimes is a top priority for DIFS and the Attorney General,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “DIFS and the Attorney General are committed to working together to obtain restitution and justice for the victims, especially our most vulnerable citizens.”

After paying $4,000 in restitution Wednesday, Beauford pleaded guilty to one count of Embezzlement from a Vulnerable Adult $1,000 to $20,000, a 5-year felony. Beauford had repaid the $20,000 at an earlier date.

Beauford is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Gregory Bill on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 at 9 a.m.

To report insurance, bank, or credit union fraud, consumers can call 877-999-6442, or email. For more information about DIFS’ anti-fraud efforts, visit their website.