Former Bank President Creates Fictitious Loans to Conceal Embezzlement

Allison Tussey —  November 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

Bryson John Russell, 66, Lincoln, Illinois, former president of a Logan County bank, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard Mills to serve 30 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $500,000 from Hartsburg State Bank and hiding it by creating loans in the names of various customers and relatives.

Russell was ordered to pay restitution to the bank in the amount of $562,293, and was ordered to self-report on a date to be determined by the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence. Russell was also ordered to remain on supervised for three years following his release from prison.

On Feb. 27, 2013, Russell waived indictment and entered a plea of guilty to a single count of embezzlement as charged in an information filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois. Russell admitted that in 1992, he began taking cash from the bank to pay for personal items and obligations. Russell became bank president in 1989 and was a career employee, having begun work in 1966 at Hartsburg State Bank, Hartsburg, Ill.

At some point, to conceal his activity, Russell began creating bank loans in the names of various bank customers, including relatives. When the various loans were due, Russell created different, larger loans in relatives’ names and other bank customers’ names to pay off the loans, as well as to embezzle additional money. In addition, Russell admitted cashing a customer’s $15,000 certificate of deposit and applying the proceeds to a loan he had created in the customer’s name.

The charges were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in coordination with the Hartsburg State Bank. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Hansen prosecuted the case.

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