Vystar employee indicted for embezzlement of $5.4 million

(Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal)

A former Vystar Credit Union employee, Duane Allen Sikes, has been arrested and accused of perpetuating a “fraudulent scheme to misappropriate $5.4 million,” according to an indictment filed Aug. 30 in U.S. District Court.

Sikes was a mailroom employee in the credit union’s Jacksonville headquarters from 1994 through 2017. He allegedly used Vystar’s money to purchase a large number of stamps “every other week” and ship the rolls of stamps to Ben Art Stamp Company, which sold them at 80 percent market value and gave Sikes a portion of the proceeds. Over the last decade, the company paid Sikes almost $3.7 million for the $5.4 million of stamps it sold, according to the indictment.

locked up

Sikes faces five felony counts of embezzlement and 10 felony counts of mail fraud. He was arrested Sep. 4.

“Upon our discovery that a former employee had defrauded the company during his employment, VyStar immediately conducted a more comprehensive internal review, reported the matter to authorities and is cooperating fully with their investigation,” VyStar said in a statement. “Importantly, this isolated incident did not in any way compromise member personal information or accounts, and is immaterial to the company’s financials. VyStar does not tolerate behavior that is contrary to our culture and high ethical values, and has taken immediate action to address the situation and even further enhance our internal processes.”

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