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Feds, FDIC Fight Over Restitution from Bank Fraud

Feds, FDIC Fight Over Restitution from Bank Fraud



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- U.S. Attorney Paul Warner's office asked a judge Friday to order a federal agency to identify victims of a failed Utah bank whose deposits exceeded the insurance limit of $100,000.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is refusing to provide Warner a list of the account holders who lost money at the Bank of Ephraim.

In court papers, the agency contends it alone deserves any restitution and is the only victim of the bank's collapse, which was blamed on embezzlement and bad loans, including loans to polygamists along the Arizona border.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. didn't return a message left after business hours Friday by The Associated Press seeking a fuller explanation. The agency covered the losses of depositors only up to $100,000 per account, leaving other victims, who lost $4.8 million from 125 accounts.

Warner's office says it wants a list of those victims so it can seek restitution from a bank insider and associate accused of embezzling money from the Bank of Ephraim.

Randy K. McArthur, 50, who was the bank's head cashier, and his friend Dean Johnson, 51, pleaded guilty in September to bank fraud. Court documents allege the pair took $5 million, an amount they dispute.

A judge will set the restitution amount when the pair are sentenced Nov. 22 in federal court.

McArthur and Johnson are believed to have assets that can be taken to partly satisfy uninsured depositors, Warner spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch said Friday.

In court papers, assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabethanne Stevens said federal law requires prosecutors to seek restitution from the two men, but they can't do that until the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. cooperates.

State regulators have identified some of the uninsured depositors as Ephraim, Hildale and Snow College, which had deposits in the bank that exceeded the limits of FDIC insurance coverage by a combined $250,000.

The bank's assets were taken over by Far West Bank of Provo last June.

Prosecutors allege McArthur and his friend forged bank documents to cover up their embezzlement of funds over 15 years. They were accused of cashing official bank checks at other institutions, then altering Bank of Ephraim documents in an effort to show it wasn't losing money.

McArthur told FBI investigators that he lost much of the money gambling.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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