LAKELAND, Fla. — Florida police this week charged seven people, including four employees of the Publix Super Markets chain here, with allegedly stealing $140,000 from the retailer’s employee credit union. According to a police report, Lotonyo Lyons of Cape Coral, a Publix employee, instigated the scheme to deposit fraudulent checks into Publix Federal Credit Union accounts, and then use debit cards to take out cash or make purchases. Publix, whose credit union is open to employees and their families, at the time allowed its employees immediate access to deposited funds. Police said the seven suspects used the fraudulent funds to buy items such as plasma televisions, jewelry and a Mitsubishi Galant automobile. Police said the suspects — six of whom have been arrested — were targets of an eight-month investigation aided by Publix.
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