<p>MAYNARD, Mass. – Richard D. Mangone, a former board member of Barnstable CU and former president/CEO of Digital Federal Credit Union, who is serving 24 years for conspiracy, is preparing an appeal to have his sentence reduced. He has already served six years of his sentence. Mangone shocked the credit union world in 1991 when he was arrested for his role in an alleged real estate loan scam (CU Times, Sept. 2, 1991.) His crimes brought down Barnstable Credit Union and shook Digital Federal Credit Union which he had also founded. The crime, which Mangone admitted he was guilty of, cost the credit unions $45 million. Mangone's sentence is the longest ever handed down for this type of crime. Since it is a federal crime there is no chance for parole, although Mangone may earn one-month reprieve for every year that he has a perfect record. Mangone's attorney Bruce Green of Westfield, Mass. has been in contact with Credit Union Times' Overseas Correspondent Donna-Lane Nelson, herself a former DFCU employee who worked at the credit union when Mangone was employed there. According to Green, Mangone does not deny that he should serve a sentence, but Mangone feels that 24 years far exceeds his white-collar crime. Green said Mangone has had a perfect record since his jail term began in 1996 at Ray Brook, a high security prison in Lake Placid, New York. He has been working both with Green and James Lawless, a former DFCU board member and one of the few from the credit union who remain in touch with Mangone. Green said Mangone has accepted his "pariah" status. Mangone has also written his former staff to apologize for his actions, although none have responded. Green said Mangone knows he hurt people by what he did. Reading from a statement Mangone wrote, Green said: "My staff, who had been so loyal, suffered for knowing me. Besides the emotional strain, many lost their jobs, and their belief in me." He knows that he "shattered the dreams and pride they had in building the credit union. Innocent people who had believed in me were hurt financially and emotionally." In his appeal Mangone has recounted his rise from a slum Boston background to a successful credit union manager. He wrote: "Because I received many accolades from peers, the credit union industry, and those from within the corporation (Digital Computer Corporation), I took the praises to heart, believing that it was I who made all of this come about. During a lull in business activities I was still longing for more. I looked to other ventures and projects to fill the void from within." That was when he and other Cape Cod businessmen formed the "Council of the Greedy" as Mangone now calls them. The group used Barnstable as their ownprivate funding source for real estate loans. DFCU became involved when they bought about $20 million of those loans. Mangone said the group had never planned to default on the loans, until the economy changed and they had trouble making payments. Eventually NCUA discovered the problems, indictments were handed down, and Mangone was fired from DFCU. The group went to trial. Sentences from three to 10 years were handed down to other participants. When Mangone, who was under house arrest, received permission to go visit his attorney, he fled and was the object of an 18-month manhunt by the FBI. Mangone said he experienced a "religious awakening" while he was on the run. On the point of suicide, he went to a priest and said he wanted to turn himself in and was ready to serve his sentence which he thought would be less than 15 years. As one of the masterminds of the crime and having run away he knew he would get a stiff sentence, but he said nothing had prepared him for the length the judge handed down. Many who know Mangone question his religious conversion, but Green said it is authentic. Once Mangone's appeal paperwork is done, he and his attorney will determine the best way to proceed. -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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