A Yuma, Ariz., businessman who figured in a fraudulent kickback scheme contributing to last December’s collapse and NCUA conservatorship of AEA Federal Credit Union has pleaded guilty to government charges and will be sentenced Oct. 3, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Appearing in a Phoenix court, Frank Ruiz admitted to paying more than $1 million in kickbacks to an AEA vice president of business lending, also charged in the case, to obtain $22 million in loans to finance a Yuma kids park and nightclub, both of which went bankrupt.
In the plea deal, Ruiz has agreed to testify against William Liddle, the AEA vice president, and his wife, Rhonda, both of whom face criminal charges in a trial set for next January.
The charges filed by the FBI allege the Liddle and his wife approved more than $25 million in business loans and engaged in the kickback scheme. The couple was arrested Dec. 2. Liddle had been employed at AEA from November 2004 to December 2009.