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Banker Sentenced To Prison For Auto Loan Scam

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File photo of a prison cell. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a prison cell. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

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MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — A former West Texas credit union officer has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and must repay $4.1 million in an auto loan scam.

A federal judge in Midland on Monday sentenced 41-year-old Michael Ross Franco of Midland. Franco last November pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud related to Motor City in Odessa.

Investigators say Franco worked at My Community Federal Credit Union from 2006 until 2008 and was involved with nearly 500 fraudulent auto loans. Prosecutors say Franco accepted more than $29,000 in kickbacks after approving loans to customers who did not meet lending standards. The credit union lost millions of dollars.

Motor City owner Raymond Holguin Jr. and sales manager Gustavo Pizarro earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Both await sentencing.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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