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An elderly Kinmundy man has been sentenced to serve more than six years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to defrauding seven Southern Illinois banks out of more than $500,000. 

Alfred L. Cross, 75, asked for a lenient sentence because of his old age and medical conditions, but, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, the court found that Cross was "a con artist, plain and simple," who "supports himself by ripping people off."

Cross was sentenced to six and a half years in prison, plus five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $111,698.98 in restitution to two of the banks he defrauded; the other five banks recovered the funds Cross ripped off by other means.

According to a news release from U.S. Attorney Stephen D. Weinhoeft, Cross pleaded guilty in March to five counts of bank fraud. 

Man pleads guilty to defrauding 7 Southern Illinois banks out of more than $500K

The release states that evidence presented at the plea hearings established that Cross had opened checking accounts at several Southern Illinois banks, including First Southern Bank in Carbondale, State Bank of Whittington in Benton, Community First Bank of the Heartland in Mount Vernon, Farmers and Merchants Bank in Nashville, Bradford National Bank in Greenville, Midland States Bank in Effingham and Washington Savings Bank in Effingham.

At each of these banks, Cross deposited large checks — ranging from $18,875 to $148,000 — drawn on out-of-state bank accounts in the names of businesses Cross controlled. And, Cross knew there were insufficient funds in those accounts, according to the release. Cross withdrew almost all of the funds from the Southern Illinois banks before the bank could return the checks from the out-of-state accounts for insufficient funds.

According to the release, Cross gave some of the money to relatives and used the rest for personal expenses; Cross ran the scheme from April 2011 to March 2015, the release states.

In denying Cross' request for a more lenient sentence, the court pointed to his prior 16 convictions for similar crimes. Weinhoeft said in the news release that his office "will continue to seek significant prison time for financial criminals who rip off businesses and other individuals."

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