In Midland this morning, 41-year-old Michael Ross Franco of Midland was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for his role in a loan scheme in which a Midland credit union sustained losses in excess of $4 million announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent In Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division.
In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Robert A. Junell ordered that Franco pay $4,122,532.19 restitution to the bank and be placed under supervised release for a period of five years after completing his prison term.
According to court records, Franco worked as a loan officer with My Community Federal Credit Union from May 22, 2006, until October 22, 2008. During that time, Franco knowingly issued approximately 487 fraudulent auto loans totaling in excess of $7 million. The fraudulent auto loans, which Franco approved, contained information which overstated or misstated the customer’s income, the customer’s debt-to-income ratio and/or the customer’s credit score. Franco, admittedly, accepted over $29,000 in kickbacks from co-conspirators for his role in the scheme.
On November 27, 2012, Franco pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Co-defendants Raymond Holguin, Jr., operator of Motor City, an auto dealership in Odessa, TX, and Gustavo Pizarro, General Sales Manager at Motor City have each pleaded guilty to the same charge and are awaiting sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for January 9, 2014.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney V. LaTawn Warsaw.