Arizona Business Figure Guilty In MBLs Kickbacks Case

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YUMA, Ariz. – A local business owner pleaded guilty last week to paying more than $1 million in kickbacks a top official at AEA FCU to obtain $22 million in member business loans and has agreed to testify against the credit union’s former business loan director and his wife.

Frank Ruiz pleaded guilty to paying William Liddle, former vice president of business lending for AEA, and his wife Rhonda Liddle, cash, a home, luxury vehicles and other benefits to secure more than $22 million of MBLs to finance his Yuma Fun Factory and the Top of the Kress nightclub, both of which eventually went bankrupt, saddling the credit union with millions in MBL losses.

The plea agreement contains a stipulation that if Ruiz cooperates fully with the investigation into the former credit union official and testifies in the case, the federal government will recommend that he receive the low end of the sentencing range or probation if available.

The scheme threatened to sink the one-time $410 million credit union, which was taken under conservatorship by NCUA in December.

Ruiz and the Liddles were arrested on Dec. 2, a day after they were indicted by a federal grand jury. The Liddles are scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 10.


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