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Alton man gets three years for bank fraud


From Illinois Business Journal news services

EAST ST. LOUIS — An Alton man is receiving prison time after being convicted of band fraud and submitting false loan applications to a financial institution.

United States District Judge David R. Herndon on Friday sentenced Christopher William Kreider, 29, of Alton, to 37 months in federal prison.

Kreider pleaded guilty to the charges on Dec. 17, 2014, James L. Porter, acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, said.

Kreider admitted that from March 4, 2010, through May 31, 2011, he defrauded the former Alton Bell Community Credit Union by causing false loan applications to be submitted.

Kreider engaged in a practice known as “straw borrowing.” Kreider owned a landscaping business in Alton known as Lawnscape Lawn and Excavation. In an effort to keep the failing business afloat, Kreider solicited friends and employees to apply for loans, in their names, with Alton Bell Community Credit Union. The proceeds of these loans were either turned over to Kreider or applied for his benefit.

During the sentencing hearing, the judge found that Kreider’s crimes caused a loss of $158,286.59 to Alton Bell Community Credit Union. In addition to the 37-month prison sentence, the court also ordered Kreider to pay restitution of $207,116.06. This figure includes the loss amount and the audit feeds incurred by the credit union as it investigated the damage caused by Kreider’s crimes. In addition, the court ordered Kreider to serve a period of five years of supervised release after he is released from prison.

The case was investigated by the Springfield, Ill., Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Scott Verseman.

The board of Bell Community Credit Union of Alton last year approved a merger of operations with GCS Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in the Metro East.

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