Former Bank President Pleads Guilty To Crime

  (SPRINGFIELD, IL) - 3/5/2013 - The former president of a Logan County bank, Bryson John Russell, 65, of Lincoln, Illinois, today on February 27 that he had embezzled funds from the Hartsburg State Bank. During his appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron Cudmore, Russell waived indictment and entered a plea of guilty to a single count of embezzlement as charged in an information filed on February 20, 2013, by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois.
   According to court documents and statements made during the hearing, the government estimates the total loss to the bank to be between $376,000 and approximately $562,292. According to statements presented by the government during today’s hearing, Russell began working at Hartsburg State Bank in Hartsburg, Illinois, in 1966. He became bank president in 1989.
   Russell admitted that he began taking cash from the bank to pay for personal items and obligations. At some point, 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. Further, 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.
   Sentencing for Russell is scheduled for June 27 before U.S. District Judge Richard Mills. For the offense of embezzlement, the statutory penalty is up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. The defendant may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim.
   The charges were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in coordination with the Hartsburg State Bank. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Hansen is prosecuting the case.