Metro-East News

75-year-old man gets no break in sentence on bank fraud

A 75-year-old Kinmundy man asked for a lenient sentence given his age, but the U.S. District Court for Southern Illinois called the man “a con artist, plain and simple” and passed down a sentence of 6 1/2 years.

Alfred L. Cross pleaded guilty in March to defrauding seven Southern Illinois banks of more than half a million dollars. He admitted to opening checking accounts at banks in Greenville, Mount Vernon, Nashville, Carbondale, Effingham and Benton and depositing large out-of-state bank checks. Those checks were drawn on accounts from businesses that Cross had, and which he knew did not have the funds to support them, and he took money from the new bank accounts before the checks bounced.

Cross has 16 prior convictions, including other similar charges. He is originally from Mattoon.

U.S. Attorney Steven Weinhoeft said Cross gave money to his relatives and used it for personal expenses.

Cross asked the court for leniency given his age and medical condition. The 6.5 year sentence is on the high end of federal sentencing guidelines, the prosecution’s office said.

In addition to the prison time, Cross will have to serve five years of supervised released, and pay $111,698.98 to two of the banks he defrauded.

The other banks had recovered funds or obtained other judgments against Cross.

Reporter Mary Cooley follows the crimes and court goings-on in the metro-east; she has a special affinity for the oddities that make life in Southern Illinois interesting. Mary has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia and previously worked as a copy editor at newspapers in the Southeast.