UPDATE: Former Top of the Kress owner testifies against Liddles

January 27, 2012

UPDATE: Former Top of the Kress owner testifies against Liddles

Posted: Updated:
Former Top of the Kress owner, Frank Ruiz Former Top of the Kress owner, Frank Ruiz

UPDATE: Phoenix, AZ January 27, 2012 at 12:20pm -- Friday morning testimony has wrapped up in the AEA Fraud Trial.  Frank Ruiz continued testifying discussing wire transfers.  Ruiz testified saying he was giving funds to William Liddle and even provided items such as a vehicle.  Ruiz says the wire transfers came from Ruiz's CTW account.

Additionally, Ruiz says he would pay bills for Liddle including his bill at the Yuma Country Club and was also putting cash into a Foothills Bank where Liddle was getting money.

Court has adjourned for a break.

------------------------------------

Phoenix, Arizona January 25, 2012 - In the second day of trial, Assistant US Attorney Peter Sexton continued questioning former Yuma Fun Factory owner Dan Thelen about his business dealings with William "Bill" Liddle, the former AEA Federal Credit Union vice president whom he says got him into $15 million worth of debt.

In court proceedings, Thelen testified that his only clients were AEA (jobs referrals from Bill) and Desert Best Distributing (former Top of the Kress owner Frank Ruiz's business).

Thelen also told the jury about the FBI's visit to his home on March 4, 2010 and a subsequent conversation he had with Liddle about that visit.

Soon after that conversation, Thelen said Rhonda Liddle dropped off a handwritten note from Bill Liddle.  In that note submitted into evidence (Exhibit 712), Thelen read the eight points contained within the note:

  1. [Liddle] not a member of senior management
  2. No cash book - all funds from account
  3. Transactions were approved by AEA Federal Credit Union
  4. All transactions were reviewed by auditors and regulators
  5. All terms and conditions were standard
  6. All transactions had economic substance
  7. Once approved, AEA can't dictate how funds are used twice removed.
  8. Liddle advised Thelen that loan was not a problem because AEA approved the disbursement and fully-supported the sale leaseback.

Upon cross examination, Liddle's Attorney David Eisenburg asked Dan Thelen about his resume and cover letter as well as his MBA education he received online from Auburn University.

Eisenburg also cross-examined Thelen on the construction inspector jobs he took on through Liddle's referrals between 2008 and 2009:  the Lynnwood project ($40,000), the Kneader's project ($35,000) and the Radisson Hotel-Yuma (income not mentioned in court).

After mentioning Liddle's assistance in giving Thelen $25,000 loan to buy a truck for his construction inspection jobs, Eisenburg said, "You can thank Bill Liddle for that."

"Yes," replied Thelen.  "And AEA."

Rhonda Liddle's Attorney Mark Paige cross-examined Thelen briefly concerning the time Thelen, Bill Liddle and Phillip Jones broke into Desert Best Distributing

Sexton also called former owner of the Top of the Kress Frank Ruiz to the stand.  Ruiz plead guilty to two counts of a 68-count indictment for his involvement with the Liddles' conspiracy and money laundry schemes. 

In pleading out, Ruiz currently will serve a maximum 15 years in prison.  In exchange for his testimony against the Liddles, Ruiz is hoping to receive a reduced sentence.  Federal Judge Susan Bolton, who is hearing the federal case against the Liddles, is also the judge in Ruiz's sentencing hearing (March 16).

-----------------------------------------------------

KSWT News 13 and The Yuma Sun are partnering to cover the AEA Fraud Trial in Phoenix and will have daily coverage on both KSWT News 13 and in the Yuma Sun, as well as KSWT.com and YumaSun.com.

Visit our special AEA Fraud Trial Section: http://www.kswt.com/category/230222/aea-fraud-trial 
Read Yuma Sun's Coverage: www.Yumasun.com

  • Email Alert Sign Up

    Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.

    * denotes required fields


    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.

KSWT-TV Affiliates

Go to KSWT-TV's Facebook page
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • National

    Obama warns of delay in social sec. checks and veteran's benefits

    Obama warns of delay in social sec. checks and veteran's benefits

    Web Producer: Lucy Valencia, Assignment Desk Editor WASHINGTON (AP) -- Declaring "we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits willMore >>
    Declaring "we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits will be delayed if congressional Republicans fail to increase the government's borrowing authority in a looming showdown over the nation's debt and spending.More >>
  • Yuma to Hold Back to School Rodeo Saturday

    Yuma to Hold Back to School Rodeo Saturday

    Yuma, AZ - The City of Yuma invites the community the Inaugural Back To School Rodeo, Saturday, July 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Civic Center, 1440 W. Desert Hills Drive The Back to School Rodeo is aMore >>
    The City of Yuma invites the community the Inaugural Back To School Rodeo, Saturday, July 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Civic Center, 1440 W. Desert Hills Drive. The Back to School Rodeo is a free event that will bring more than 50 community organizations under one roof to provide a one-stop destination for area children's educational needs. Organizers say it is designed for grades K-8. More >>
  • Yuma

    Man tries to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of cocaine into U.S. from Mexico

    Man tries to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of cocaine into U.S. from Mexico

    ANDRADE, Calif. (13 On Your Side) - A Yuma man is busted for trying to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of cocaine into the United States from Mexico. Customs and Border Protection officers discoveredMore >>
    A Yuma man is busted for trying to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of cocaine into the United States from Mexico.More >>
  • Yuma

    Resident speaks out about armed robbery in his neighborhood

    Resident speaks out about armed robbery in his neighborhood

    YUMA, AZ- Yuma Police continue to look for an armed robber wearing a black ski mask who used a shot gun to rob his victim. According to police an SUV with several passengers pulled up to a man whoMore >>
    Yuma Police continue to look for an armed robber  wearing a black ski mask who used a shot gun to rob his victim.More >>
  • Out with the old...

    Out with the old...

    It has been a staple in the Yuma community since the early 70's and the place to meet for the young and old alike. The Southgate Mall now sits on broken asphalt and bares the scares of more than 40 years; decades being passed from owner to owner and now it's set to be torn down to make way for a new more improved shopping center. Today the building has been stripped from within to make way for demolition equipment to tear down the center portion of the mall. Stores like Sear, Burlington and t...More >>
    It has been a staple in the Yuma community since the early 70's and the place to meet for the young and old alike. The Southgate Mall now sits on broken asphalt and bares the scares of more than 40 years; decades being passed from owner to owner and now it's set to be torn down to make way for a new more improved shopping center. Today the building has been stripped from within to make way for demolition equipment to tear down the center portion of the mall. Stores like Sear, Burlington and t...More >>
  • Israel invades Gaza after Hamas rejects truce

    Israel invades Gaza after Hamas rejects truce

    Thursday, July 17 2014 10:23 PM EDT2014-07-18 02:23:48 GMT
    The Israeli military says it has struck 37 targets in Gaza ahead of a five-hour humanitarian cease-fire meant to allow civilians to stock up after 10 days of fighting.More >>
    The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try...More >>
  • New-Car Sales to Jump 11.6 Percent Year-Over-Year in July

    New-Car Sales to Jump 11.6 Percent Year-Over-Year in July

    New-vehicle sales are expected to increase 11.6 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.46 million units, resulting in an estimated 16.6 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book...More >>
    New-vehicle sales are expected to increase 11.6 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.46 million units, resulting in an estimated 16.6 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book...More >>
  • California hospitals fined over medical mistakes

    California hospitals fined over medical mistakes

    Six hospitals in Riverside and San Bernardino counties have been fined by state health officials for mistakes during surgery and other care that harmed patients - and in one case led to death.More >>
    Six hospitals in Riverside and San Bernardino counties have been fined by state health officials for mistakes during surgery and other care that harmed patients - and in one case led to death.More >>