Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Erpenbeck trio faces sentencing

By James McNair
Enquirer staff writer

While bank swindler Bill Erpenbeck enters the sixth month of his 30-year prison sentence, judgment day will arrive Thursday for his father, his sister and one of his former employees.

U.S. Senior District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel will sentence the three at 1:30 p.m. in the federal courthouse in downtown Cincinnati. They are:

• Lori Erpenbeck, the former Erpenbeck Co. accounting manager who pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud in 2003. Although bank fraud carries a 30-year maximum sentence, federal prosecutors have asked Spiegel for a lower sentence in return for her "substantial assistance" in the government's investigation. That help included her willingness to wear a transmitter in a Feb. 5 FBI sting that led to Bill Erpenbeck's conviction for witness tampering.

• Tony Erpenbeck, Bill Erpenbeck's 69-year-old father. The elder Erpenbeck pleaded guilty to witness tampering after his aborted attempt in February to steer Lori Erpenbeck to a storyline more favorable to Bill. He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years.

• Michelle Marksberry, Erpenbeck Co.'s agent at home-sale closings. She pleaded guilty last July to one count of bank fraud and faces up to 30 years in prison. The government has agreed to a lower sentence for Marksberry, too, in light of her cooperation.

The sentencing stem from a check-kiting scheme that ran from 1999 to early 2002 and led to the diversion of $33.9 million of home-purchase proceeds into Erpenbeck Co. bank accounts.

Two executives of the defunct Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky, John Finnan and Marc Menne, pleaded guilty to bank fraud last week and will be sentenced in October in U.S. District Court in Covington.


E-mail jmcnair@enquirer.com

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