AEA FCU Co-Conspirator May Receive 12-Month Sentence
Frank Ruiz, a real estate developer involved in a business lending kickback scheme that led to the collapse of AEA Federal Credit Union, may only receive up to 12 months in prison for his role.
Ruiz previously pled guilty to several fraud counts for paying William Liddle, AEA’s business lending officer, more than $1 million in bribes to approve $50 million in business loans.
Federal prosecutors in Phoenix, where Liddle’s trial recently wrapped up, recommended that Ruiz have a sentence of no more than 12 months and three years of probation for his assistance in testifying against Liddle, according to local media reports.
Still, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton has postponed sentencing until April 9 to consider new evidence that could result in a 15-year sentence for Ruiz.
Bolton has said that she will need more time to go over the amount of financial damage that AEA suffered as a result of Ruiz’s actions.
On Feb. 10, Liddle was found guilty of 44 counts of federal credit institution fraud, 14 counts of misapplication of financial institution fraud, six counts of transactional money laundering, three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy.
Liddle’s wife, Rhonda, was also found guilty of 30 counts of federal credit institution fraud, five counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy.
The Liddles are scheduled to be sentenced May 21.
John Zimmerman, NCUA public affairs specialist, said the agency will not comment on Ruiz’s possible sentence.
AEA has been operating under NCUA conservatorship since December 2010.