• Vystar mailroom employee stole millions over the years, indictment says

    By: Sarah Thompson, News 104.5 WOKV

    Updated:

    A more than 20-year employee of VyStar Credit Union has been federally indicted and accused of engaging in a scheme to misappropriate about $5.4 million from the company. 

    According to the indictment, Duane Sikes, 64, is now facing 10 counts of mail fraud and 5 counts of embezzlement of credit union funds. 

    Court documents show that Sikes worked in the mailroom at the VyStar Corporate Headquarters in Jacksonville between 1994 and 2017, where his duties included taking VyStar-issued checks to purchase postage for the company's postage meter. 

    Instead, the indictment says that every other week, Sikes allegedly used the check to buy large amounts of stamps from the Jacksonville Main Post Office. He would then allegedly ship the rolls to a company in New York, where the stamps were re-sold. That company would then send Sikes a portion of the sales. 

    The indictment alleges this practice went on for about 15 years. 

    Between 2007 and 2017, the indictment says the New York company sent Sikes more than $3.6 million in stamp sale proceeds. The indictment says Sikes then used that money for his own benefit. 

    If he's convicted, Sikes will be forced to forfeit all of the stamp sale proceeds --  totaling more than $3.6 million -- and the amount of proceeds tied to his five counts of embezzlement of credit union funds.

    VyStar sent this statement on Monday: 

    “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.

    "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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