Posted 9/5/2011 12:00 am
Updated 2 years ago
The case of Joyce Judy, the former president of Arkansas Employees Federal Credit Union who pleaded guilty to bank fraud last month, is getting a little clearer. And a lot stranger.
To recap: On Aug. 2, without waiting to be indicted, Judy, 58, admitted in U.S. District Court that she had defrauded an AEFCU customer (and, ultimately, the credit union's bonding company) out of $500,000.
No reporters were present at the unannounced hearing, so for nearly a month, all that was made public about the case came from a press release issued after the plea by the U.S. Attorney's Office: Judy had agreed in the fall of 2009 to invest $1 million in a business venture, half of which she got by telling a customer that she was moving his money into a super-safe, tax-free, high-yield certificate of deposit.
She deposited her $500,000 and the customer's $500,000 into an account at another financial institution that was jointly held with another person involved in the investment opportunity. The money was subsequently wired out of the country without Judy's permission.
Although she tried to keep up appearances by paying the customer $26,000 in "interest" out of her own money, the fraud was discovered in April and Judy was promptly fired. The press release didn't identify the joint owner of the account, and Judy's lawyer, Erin Cassinelli of Little Rock, declined comment.
Then, weeks after Judy entered her plea, a transcript of the hearing was made available for viewing at the federal courthouse in Little Rock. So Whispers can now reveal that the person who pitched this ill-fated investment to Joyce Judy was a retired racecar driver from North Carolina named Bob Schacht.
We also learned that Judy didn't have anything like a million dollars, or even half a million, available to invest. To get her half of the money, she mortgaged her home in North Little Rock ($175,500, according to the public record), a houseboat and three cars at AEFCU and borrowed another $225,000 from "a personal friend."
And Schacht, Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Whatley told U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes, wired all the money from the joint account at Bank of America to an unspecified destination "overseas" to a person named Emelyn Moselyn, "who was putting the deal together." Ouch.
'Iowa Motor Speedway'
Schacht, 61, hasn't returned our repeated calls seeking comment. He had a modest career in both Nascar and Arca, the Automobile Racing Club of America. Since his retirement in 2000, he has been building cars for other teams at a plant in the center of the racecar universe, Morristown, N.C.
At Judy's plea hearing, Whatley said Judy and Schacht had been acquainted for "a few years" when he offered her "the opportunity to make an investment regarding the Iowa Motor Speedway."
This is an apparent reference to the Iowa Speedway at Newton, which really was for sale back in 2009. It was finally sold two months ago, and its current president, Jerry Jauron, told Whispers in an email that he had never heard of Schacht or Moselyn. "Iowa Speedway has no association with or knowledge of any of the subject matter in this alleged Arkansas legal issue," Jauron wrote.
But Brad Manatt, whose family previously owned the majority interest in the Iowa Speedway, knows a bit more than that. He told Whispers that Schacht was, in fact, trying to put together financing to buy the speedway a couple of years back. And Manatt, who is CEO of a highway construction contractor called Manatts Inc. of Brooklyn, Iowa, said he had heard that Schacht was working on the deal with the president of a bank in Little Rock, and he thought maybe Schacht and this banker had met on a plane.
But the deal sounded squirrelly, Manatt said, because the Manatts - the sellers - were supposed to put in $1 million in order to help secure financing, and then everyone was supposed to get back at least double their money. It was one of at least four similar schemes that were pitched to the Manatt family during the three years they searched for a buyer for the speedway, he said.
'A Straight Deal'
Another person involved in the deal, Manatt said, was businessman Larry Clement of Fort Dodge, Iowa, whose brothers Stan and Conrad eventually bought Iowa Speedway.
Larry Clement confirmed to Whispers that he had been in contact with Bob Schacht about possibly buying the speedway - and that the president of a great big credit union in Little Rock was supposedly involved in the financing.
Clement was surprised to learn that Judy was actually president of a little bitty credit union (less than $40 million in assets). And the fact that she is likely to spend three or four years in federal prison as a result of her involvement in this investment opportunity was news to him. The name Emelyn Moselyn was completely unfamiliar, he said. (In fact, no one by that name even shows up in a Google search.)
But one thing Clement was certain about: Schacht is not a bad guy in this story.
"If Bob Schacht did something with this Emelyn person, he thought it was a straight deal," Clement said last week. "There isn't one-tenth of a chance that Bob did anything wrong. He may have got scammed by whoever he was working with."
Maybe we'll learn more when Joyce Judy is sentenced, which is likely several months hence.