Golf Greens Businessman Gets Two Years

     ALBUQUERQUE (CN) – A businessman who sold turf to golf courses was sentenced to 26 months in prison for a $1.3 million bank fraud, federal prosecutors said.



     Richard B. Wickens, 44, of suburban Rio Rancho, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of bank fraud.
     He also was ordered to pay $1,245,536.50 in restitution to the Bank of Albuquerque.
     Wickens was indicted in January 2011 on four counts of bank fraud and three counts of making false statements in a credit or loan application.
     Six charges were dismissed under the plea agreement.
     Wickens defrauded the bank in 2006 to shore up his failing Albuquerque-based business, Real Turf and Putting Greens, by making false statements about the company’s financial condition in his loan application, prosecutors said.
     “Wickens acknowledged that the information he provided to the bank falsely represented that RTPG was showing a profit when in reality RTPG was operating at a substantial loss,” prosecutors said in a statement.
     “Based on Wickens’ false statements, the bank extended to RTPG a line of credit in the amount of approximately $1.3 million. Wickens admitted that he drew down the money available through the line of credit, spent the money, and did not repay the bank.”
     Wickens was ordered to report to federal prison within 60 days.

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