Federal judge acquits Guidry on most charges
Judge Monti Belot did, however, deny acquittal on her convictions on filing false statements on tax returns.
A federal judge on Wednesday granted acquittal for Anita Guidry on 10 charges a jury deadlocked on earlier this week.
In the ruling, Judge Monti Belot refused to acquit her on the three charges of filing false statements on tax returns that she was convicted of.
The ruling essentially means that Guidry, 50, cannot be retired on the 10 bank fraud and money laundering charges. The jury deadlocked on those charges on Monday after about eight hours of deliberations.
“It’s what I expected based on the law,” said Guidry’s attorney, Dan Monnat. “It’s an absolutely correct legal decision on the money laundering and bank fraud counts.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Deb Barnett, the prosecutor, did not return a call seeking comment.
The charges against Guidry stem from the allegation that she embezzled $2.7 million between 1992 and 1997 from Wichita Sheet Metal Inc. while working as the company’s controller.
Prosecutors said she spent more than $1 million of the money on clothes.
Monnat said during his closing argument on Friday that Guidry was wrong to take the money, but her actions were not bank fraud, and if she was not convicted of bank fraud, she could not be convicted of money laundering.
However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Deb Barnett said Guidry did defraud the bank when she wrote herself 289 company checks and pretended the money was being used to pay the company’s federal income taxes.
For Guidry to be convicted of bank fraud, prosecutors had to prove that the banks she took money from lost money, were put at risk of potential monetary loss or were put at risk of civil liability.
“At trial, witnesses from the bank testified that the bank suffered no loss,” the ruling stated. “The government produced no contrary evidence. Additionally, there was no evidence the bank could have suffered a loss.” And during the trial, the president of Wichita Sheet Metal testified that she had not yet sued the bank but was considering it.
As for the money laundering charges, the ruling stated: “Because bank fraud is a necessary predicate to the money laundering charges, the court must grant acquittal on those counts as well.”
The charges of filing false statements on tax returns stem from Guidry’s failure to report the income to the IRS while filling out her family’s income tax forms, prosecutors said.
Monnat had said Guidry was unaware she had a duty to report the money on her tax returns.
But the ruling stated that Guidry – an accounting major – was aware the income needed to be reported.
No sentencing date has been set on the tax convictions.
By Joe Rodrigues