Big stories of 2009: Credit union fraud

Edwin F. Rachleff committed suicide in July 2008 by jumping off the highest building in New London - the Mohican Senior Apartments - on the same day that federal authorities declared insolvent the credit union he had guided for decades.

Still, friends and associates said Rachleff, a well-known and respected stockbroker who acted as the credit union's investment adviser, couldn't have been involved in any shady dealings. They speculated that declining health and a possible loss of his securities license because of poor eyesight might have led to his tragic end. But the National Credit Union Administration shattered any such illusions in November when it revealed in a report about the demise of the New London Security Federal Credit Union that Rachleff, in the midst of a criminal probe as he ended his life, likely embezzled nearly $12 million from the Jewish-run institution. About the same time, Wells Fargo, successor to the A.G. Edwards brokerage firm for which Rachleff worked for two decades, revealed that a former client had accused Rachleff of misappropriating $7.5 million.

A federal investigation is continuing , but the real question, yet unanswered, is: What happened to the $20 million Rachleff is accused of stealing?

- Lee Howard


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