Jury selection begins for couple accused of committing fraud against AEA
Story by Stephanie Sanchez, Reporter - bio | email
Yuma, AZ--Jury selection began today for the trial of two Yuma residents accused of committing fraud involving millions of dollars against a local credit union.
Bill Liddle and his wife Rhonda Liddle are each facing 68 charges including conspiracy, money laundering and fraud.
According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Bill Liddle the former vice president of business lending for AEA Federal Credit Union, authorized more than $25 million dollars in suspicious loans to Yuma businessman Frank Ruiz.
They said in exchange for the loans, Bill and Rhonda Liddle received almost 1 million dollars in kickbacks.
Ruiz was also indicted on the same charges with the Liddles by a federal grand jury in December of 2010.
However in June of 2011 Ruiz took a plea deal.
He plead guilty to charges of conspiracy and transactional money laundering.
As part of the plea agreement if Ruiz cooperates fully, the Department of Justice can oppose a less harsh punishment when he is sentenced on March 12th.
The alleged scheme between all three defendants went on for almost three years.
According to the Feds, the Liddles received nearly $250,000 in cash.
A home worth $565,000 and a $40,000 Toyota SUV, a classic corvette and more.
All three defendants filled for personal bankruptcy in 2010 but last month Ruiz lost his bankruptcy case in court, which lead to the closing of one of his businesses, he Top of the Kress.
Trial in the case against Bill and Rhonda Liddle is set to start next week in Phoenix.
Sources tell us, Frank Ruiz is expected to testify against the couple.
The Liddle's faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and or a million dollar fine.
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