One of the co-conspirators involved a business lending kickback scheme that led to the collapse of AEA Federal Credit Union in Yuma, Ariz., has been sentenced to 24 months in prison.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton recently handed down the sentence to Frank Ruiz, an Arizona real estate developer who paid William Liddle, an AEA business lending officer, more than $1 million in bribes for the exchange of loan approvals. After serving his sentence, Ruiz will receive three years of supervised release.
Ruiz previously pled guilty to several counts of fraud for testifying against Liddle. He is set to start serving his prison sentence June 29 after a restitution hearing, according to the Yuma Sun. Bolton said Ruiz should be held accountable for $4.75 million in losses AEA suffered.
While Ruiz played a role in AEA’s financial woes, Bolton said the $231 million credit union also shoulders some of the blame.
“There was an unbelievable lack of control and financial accountability at AEA,” Bolton said, the publication reported. “The trial made clear there was a lack of financial viability of millions of dollars in loans." The NCUA placed AEA in conservatorship in December 2010.
Tom Martin, the interim CEO of AEA, disputed the amount of losses tied to Ruiz, saying that after the real estate developer’s assets are liquidated, there is still nearly $19 million he borrowed that cannot be recovered, according to the publication.
Martin said AEA also continued to sustain losses of an estimated $50,000 to $75,000 a month in revenue from a facility that Ruiz continued to operate until January, nearly a year after he pled guilty to his role in the loan scheme.
Liddle and his wife are scheduled to be sentenced May 21. They are also set to attend the same restitution hearing with Ruiz.