Alfred L. Cross, 75, of Kinmundy, IL, (originally from Mattoon, IL), was sentenced to 78 months in prison on his federal conviction on five counts of bank fraud, announced Steven D. Weinhoeft, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. The evidence presented in court established that Cross defrauded seven southern Illinois banks out of more than $500,000.
Cross pled guilty to the charges in the indictment on March 16, 2018. Facts presented at the plea hearing established that Cross opened checking accounts at the following banks: Bradford National Bank in Greenville, Illinois; Community First Bank of the Heartland in Mount Vernon, Illinois; the Farmers and Merchants National Bank in Nashville, Illinois; First Southern Bank in Carbondale, Illinois; Midland States Bank in Effingham, Illinois; State Bank of Whittington, in Benton, Illinois; and Washington Savings Bank, located in Effingham, Illinois. After these accounts had been open for a short period of time, Cross deposited into each of the accounts very large checks, ranging from $18,875 to $148,000. These checks were drawn on out-of-state bank accounts in the names of businesses that Cross controlled. At the time he deposited these checks, Cross knew there were insufficient funds in the out-of-state accounts to cover the checks. Before the checks could be returned as NSF, Cross withdrew almost all of the funds he had deposited.
Cross gave some of these funds to his relatives and used the remainder to pay for personal expenses. Cross conducted this fraud scheme from April 14, 2011, through March 25, 2015.
At sentencing, Cross asked the court to impose a lenient sentence, due to his advanced age and medical conditions. The court indicated that other factors warranted a sentence of significant prison time. Noting that Cross had 16 prior convictions, many of which were for similar conduct, the court was "not confident he can be deterred" from future criminal conduct. The court observed that Cross is "a con artist, plain and simple" who "supports himself by ripping people off."
In addition to the 6 ½ year prison sentence, the court ordered Cross to serve a five year period of supervised release and pay restitution of $111,698.98 to two of the banks he defrauded. (Restitution was not ordered for the banks that obtained judgments against Cross and/or had recovered funds they were owed by other means).
In commenting on yesterday’s sentence, U.S. Attorney Weinhoeft stated: "Cross may have conned several banks, but he couldn’t game the federal justice system. These criminals will not avoid lengthy prison sentences by pointing to their age, medical issues, or other excuses to escape responsibility for their crimes. Our office will continue to seek significant prison time for financial criminals who rip off businesses and other individuals."
The investigation was conducted by agents from the Springfield Division, Fairview Heights Resident Agency, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Verseman.