White collar crimes in Arkansas

    8:40 PM, Nov 14, 2011   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- When you think of all the cases on Arkansas criminal dockets, you probably imagine things like drugs, homicides and robberies. But mixed in among them and fairly often are white collar crimes: cases of fraud, stolen money and suit-wearing suspects.

    "At any given day approximately 25 percent of my criminal docket is devoted to White Collar crime here in Eastern Arkansas," U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer said.

    It keeps Thyer and his office busy up until sentencing day arriving in late September for Lu Hardin. He was the former UCA President, pleading guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

    "The crux of the matter was the board had voted him a deferred compensation bonus and he devised a scheme to get himself out of the financial hole that he had dug himself in to get the bonus earlier than when he was entitled to it," Thyer explained.

    It was a $300,000 bonus that Hardin eventually paid back. But reports of gambling problems swirled around Hardin as his case went through the courts, ending with five years probation.

    "The sentencing is so tied to the amount of cooperation that you give and your acceptance of responsibility, both things Mr. Hardin did," Thyer said.

    Also sentenced this year was Lex Martinez, the former Chief Financial Officer of the now defunct Affiliated Foods. He pleaded guilty to hiding company losses.

    "They would deposit checks into certain accounts that made it look like their cash flow situation was a much better than what it actually was," Thyer said.

    Thyer says the check-kiting scheme, near $12 million, also omitted company losses in reports to the bank, even the company's board. It netted Martinez a year and a day in jail.
    A love of Nascar, part of our third white collar case, got Joyce Judy of North Little Rock in trouble. She was President of the Arkansas Employees Federal Credit Union at the time of her scheme.

    "She convinced one of the depositors to basically invest half a million dollars on the promise that it would be invested into a certificate of deposit; she then took that half million dollars, pooled with other money she had and was attempting to purchase a NASCAR race track," Thyer said.

    Judy plead guilty in August and is awaiting sentencing.
    Our final case at six out of federal court involves Little Rock stock broker Mark Madison. Thyer says he scammed about 30 victims out of more than $1.2 million.

    "He was a broker and taking investors money and telling them he was investing them in various projects and various things around the country and using that money primarily for his own benefit," Thyer said.

    Thyer's office reports Madison used the money for things like his own mortgage, country club dues and credit card payments, landing him in jail for 51 months.

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