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Credit Union CEO Sentenced to Federal Prison

SCRANTON -- The former CEO of a credit union in Scranton was sent to prison Wednesday for swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the credit union.

Several of his former employees showed up to court hoping for a hefty sentence.

Sean Jelen was hired as CEO of Tobyhanna Federal Credit Union in 2011. It then became Valor Federal Credit Union and it is now PenFed Credit Union.

Jelen's former employees believe the credit unions' latest merger is due to the trouble he caused there.

Those former employees came out in force to see their old boss go to federal prison.

There were high fives and hugs outside the federal courthouse in Scranton as a group of old coworkers heard the sentence for their former boss at Valor Federal Credit Union.

Sean Jelen will serve 70 months, nearly six years behind bars for bank fraud.

Most of the employees who came to the sentencing don't work for the credit union, now called PenFed, anymore.

"I was the controller, and you can read between the lines, but, he laid me off, laid me off," said Mike Walser.

Jelen walked into court with the help of a crutch. In a nearly hour-long address to the judge, Jelen said his health was a reason why he shouldn't go to jail. Jelen suffers from Crohn's disease.

He apologized for swindling more than $700,000 from Valor, something his employees say likely led to the credit union's demise.

"He actually took a strong, healthy, financial institution and in three years' time, flushed it in the toilet," Walser said.

"I was fortunate enough to get another job with another credit union and I'm very happy to be there but a number of my good friends have had to leave the area, have lost their jobs, you know, at Valor, and have had to start their life all over again," said former employee Cheryl Dehaut. "And you know, there's a lot of people that I work with now that have just suffered immense loss; you can't even imagine the hurt that he has inflicted on people."

During his speech, Jelen never explained why he stole the money to pay personal bills, throw parties, and hold a golf tournament. Instead, he praised his work as a manager and said he felt like his employees were family. The employees didn't buy it.

"He was the type of man, besides what he said in court, not very patient with the employees. And so that was a little hard for some of us to sit there and listen about how much he cared about his employees. You know, he made numerous steps to make our lives difficult including canceling some of our vacation time," Dehaut said.

Jelen asked to report to prison after undergoing a scheduled surgery next week. The judge denied that request and he started serving his sentence immediately. After he's released, Jelen will be under supervision for another four years and must start to pay back nearly $700,000 still owed to the credit union.

14 comments

  • Think Positive

    Greed is a terrible thing. But why does Bank Fraud merit longer a longer prison terms than some pedophiles get?

      • Erich

        Which pedophiles?

        Keep in mind, not a single executive of a major mortgage bank was jailed for fraud after the great recession. It is incoherent to pretend bankers are treated worse than pedophiles.

  • Dylan

    Article states -“Jelen walked into court with the help of a crutch. In a nearly hour-long address to the judge, Jelen said his health was a reason why he shouldn’t go to jail. Jelen suffers from Crohn’s disease.”.
    #1- Crohn’s disease has NOTHING to do with crutches, This narcissistic dickhead was performing the equivalent of wearing a fake neck brace to a whiplash trial.
    #2- this scumbag thief will end up doing his time in a nice cushy federal prison CAMP, which is different than a Federal Pen- I say put him in General population!!!!.

    • Fredric

      In General population, he would create a following and promise jobs and money when he gets out. He would become a Robin Hood as many con men do. He will do this again.

  • Rusty Butterknife

    70 months for hundreds of thousands of dollars? In a Federal prison? He’ll have 6 years of ping-pon, The Price Is Right, cell phones, contraband substances, and poker games. The mighty fall hard. (rolling eyes)

  • Cowboy

    Maybe be out in three years for good behavior.
    He has the money. Kiss it good by.
    Court system is messed up. A bank robber gets more time and that’s what he did. LMAO, white collar and not a blue collar crime.

  • Smoke Alarm Guy

    How does the amount of money missing not set off alarms to the every day staff? How did it go on that long. Checks/Balances/Audits/Checking expenditures/Checking payables and expenses???

  • Fredric

    He goes to prison for 70 months starting with serious operation at the tax payers expense. Then he comes out throws a couple of thousand at the court and skips off to St. Kitts where the money has bought him full citizenship.

    Kiss that $700,000 goodbye.

  • We're All Being Scammed

    Crohn’s disease! What a pathetic excuse. I don’t care if you had terminal cancer serve the time! Pathetic animal.

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