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Prosecutors seek 20 years for Liddle, 12 months for wife
Federal prosecutors are recommending that a judge sentence William Liddle, former member business loan chief at the AEA Federal Credit Union, to a minimum 20 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release because of the large losses his fraudulent activity caused the institution.
Prosecutors also requests that the judge sentence Liddle's wife, Rhonda, to 12 months and one day imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for her role in the fraud.
The Liddles are to be sentenced Monday by Judge Susan Bolton in U.S. District Court for Arizona.
A restitution hearing has been set for June 19 for the Liddles and co-defendant Frank Ruiz, who was sentenced to two years in prison. Ruiz had entered into a plea agreement on two charges and agreed to testify against the Liddles in exchange for getting a lighter sentence.
In documents filed with the court this week, U.S. prosecutors say that AEA suffered almost $30 million in fraudulent business lending losses on the $60 million in member business loans Liddle approved while employed by the credit union.
The losses brought the one-time $410 million credit union to its knees. In December 2010, the National Credit Union Administrator took the financial institution under conservatorship in December 2010 and gave it an emergency $20 million loan in December 2011 to keep it afloat.
In the U.S. sentencing memorandum, prosecutors also noted that at least 80 AEA employees lost their jobs, and “Yuma contractors relying on the fraudulent loans suffered ruinous financial losses.”
In February, a jury convicted William Liddle of 54 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in connection with accepting more than $1 million in bribes in exchange for approving the business loans. Rhonda Liddle was convicted on 36 counts.
Prosecutors in their memorandum said that after being hired by AEA, Liddle “quickly assessed and exploited the extraordinary circumstances that provided him with the opportunity for personal financial gain at the expense of AEA and its 50,0000 or so members-owners.”
The memorandum claims that Liddle has shown no remorse for his action, even after a jury found him guilty of 54 felony offenses. Furthermore, prosecutors said, Liddle lied in his personal bankruptcy proceedings, lied during his testimony at trial and has failed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes.
“The nature and the circumstances of the offense demand a lengthy prison sentence for (Liddle) — one that is at least 20 years long, and nothing about defendant's history indicates to the contrary,” the prosecutors told the court.
In orchestrating the business-lending fraud, Liddle not only involved his friends but also his wife, who “stands in stark contrast to her husband,” the memorandum states. While she participated in the fraud, “... there is no evidence that she participated in devising or directing the scheme, nor is there evidence that she had knowledge of the full extent of the conspiracy.”
Therefore, prosecutors recommend that she receive a short prison sentence.
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6853. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YSJoyceLobeck or on Twitter at @YSJoyceLobeck.