AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A former employee of Amarillo Education Credit Union faces up to 20 years in federal prison for aiding four others robbing the bank last year and, months later, carrying out another theft of the same bank.
Desire Valverde, 23, pleaded guilty Tuesday and also faces a fine of up to $250,000.
Four other defendants in the case - Leonard Coulter, 29, Richard Cunningham, 39, Keli Edwards, 35, and Raul Garcia, 28 - also pleaded guilty to various charges, all of which stem from the two robberies last May and September.
Valverde, a teller for the bank, helped Coulter and Garcia plan the May robbery and gave them the money from her drawer. According to court documents, she provided the two with sensitive information on "how and when" to commit the robbery and remained in contact with Garcia during the holdup.
She received a portion of the stolen money after the heist.
On Sept. 23, Coulter and Cunningham robbed a different AECU location by holding a teller at gunpoint. When the teller told him the drawers were locked, Coulter jumped the counter and pressed the gun to her back. Coulter got money out of the drawer and then demanded access to the vault.
They left the credit union with approximately $60,067.
During the investigation, the FBI identified Garcia as another party involved in both robberies - once as Valverde's informant and the other time as the getaway driver.
Garcia was later stopped by agents in his pickup, where they found $5,020 and two firearms, including the one Coulter used during the September robbery.
Coulter and Garcia both pleaded guilty to one count of credit union robbery and one count of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. The robbery count carries a maximum of 20 years in federal prison and $250,000 fine. The firearms offense carries a mandatory seven-year penalty and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing for Coulter and Garcia is set for July 11.
Cunningham and Valverde pleaded guilty to one count of credit union robbery. Sentencing for Cunningham is set for July 10. Valverde will be sentenced on July 11.
Edwards pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of a felony. Edwards was Coulter's girlfriend and was watching out for law enforcement on the Sept. 23 robbery. Her charge carries a maximum of three years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. She will be sentenced on July 10.