"Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal."
President Nixon to David Frost, May 19, 1977
On January 6, 1999, member, Danny Wafa obtained financing from Priority One Credit Union for a newly purchased, white-colored, 1989 BMW. A few months later, a member of his family became ill forcing Mr. Wafa to frequently leave the state, causing his loan payments to become delinquent.
At the time, Credit Resolutions Supervisor, William Brinkley, visited Mr. Wafa at his home and structured a repayment plan that would enable the member to become current with his payments and avoid repossession which would have adversely impacted the member's credit history. Mr. Brinkley also understood that repossessing any automobile constitutes a monetary loss to any credit union.
After the member signed the agreement, Mr. Brinkley returned to the South Pasadena branch and presented the document to his supervisor and owner of Allied Management, Priority One's contracted collection agency. Upon realizing that the vehicle was a BMW, the same make of automobile owned by the Vice President of Operations, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr., Mr. Lee visited the Vice President in his office. Vice President Wiggington denied approval of the repayment agreement and ordered the vehicle be repossessed and brought to him.
Mr. Lee drew up new documents ordering repossession of the vehicle. After the vehicle was retrieved, Mr. Lee drew up fictitious documents to create the appearance that the automobile had been sent to auction when in fact, ownership of the vehicle was transferred, at no cost, to Vice President Wiggington. The Vice President and Mr. Lee committed collusion and fraud.
The file containing the original documents signed by Mr. Wafa and the documents ordering the repossession should have been sent to the file room located at in the back offices at the South Pasadena branch. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the file is nowhere to be found at the South Pasadena office. What's more, the file is also not found at Allied Management's Glendora, California offices. Vice President Wiggington retained ownership of the automobile for only a short-time before selling it to his then friend, Odell Richards.
This incident is far more than simply an abuse of authority by both the Vice President and Mr. Lee. Evidently, neither considered the member's circumstances, choosing instead to take ownership of the automobile through fraud and in the process, causing the member to incur a negative reference on his credit report. Mr. Wafa's loan record continues to appear in Priority One's XP program which discloses the loan was written off.
When a vehicle is repossessed and afterwards, sold at auction, any monies obtained from the sale are applied to the loan's outstanding balance. In this case, the unpaid balance remains unchanged revealing the vehicle was never sold.
In the years which followed, Mr. Wiggington would periodically boast about the beautiful white BMW he allegedly purchased from a dealership, bragging that the wheel covers alone, "are worth more than $2000.00."
In 2008, the credit union's attorney received an anonymous letter which included the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), license plate number, and description of the automobile along with a description of how then VP of Operations, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. came into possession of the automobile. Mr. Adler contacted the Board of Supervisors and conferred with Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks. Mrs. Harris-Brooks contacted Mr. Wiggington, Sr., who was now President and CEO, and informed him about the contents of the letter.
Stunned by the disclosure, the President assured Mrs. Harris-Brooks that the automobile had been obtained legally. However, immediately following conclusion of the call, the President called Mr. Lee and the two, concocted a story they would tell anyone who might investigate the incident.
In September 2008, the President stood in the Board room located at the South Pasadena branch, loudly informing an auditor that he had purchased the automobile at a "BMW dealership." Of course, if the vehicle had been purchased at a BMW dealership, then why would the member's loan record in XP show that the vehicle had once been financed by member, Danny Wafa, and later repossessed? Why would Mr. Wiggington feel impelled to contact Mr. Lee and concoct a story to explain how he came into possession of Mr. Wafa's automobile when all he would have to do, is show evidence of the purchase?