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Former Arkansas mayor and his wife indicted in mail fraud scheme

by Stephen Simpson | November 15, 2018 at 7:34 p.m.

A former mayor of Magness and his wife — who have been indicted on numerous charges, including conspiracy to commit mail fraud — will appear in court later this month.

An indictment in federal court states that Gregory and Candace Pectol conspired to commit mail fraud. A grand jury also charged Gregory Pectol with 24 counts of mail fraud. Candace Pectol received three counts of witness tampering.

Assistant United States Attorney Chris Givens told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Thursday that the Pectols are scheduled to appear on Nov. 27 in U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe’s courtroom.

The couple was indicted Nov. 8, according to court documents.

Investigators said that from May 2012 through September 2015, the Pectols conspired with each other to devise and participate in a scheme to defraud and obtain money by means of false representation and knowingly caused checks to be delivered by mail to the wrong address.

Gregory Pectol would receive checks from Riceland made payable to both him and the Merchant and Planters Bank in Newport. The indictment claims he would alter and manipulate a portion of these checks by tearing the check and erasing the bank’s name to make it appear that the company’s authorization was not required to deposit the check.

He would then deposit the check, evading the bank’s lien on his crops and avoiding repayment on his loan, which resulted in losses for the company.

Investigators said that in an effort to disguise the transactions, Gregory Pectol wouldn’t deposit the altered checks into his farm-related Merchants and Planters Bank account, but instead into an account — one that belonged to another relative, identified as E.P. — at First Community Bank in Batesville.

Investigators said Gregory Pectol also altered and manipulated checks that were made payable to a relative. The records state that Pectol would forge his relative’s signature and deposit that money into the account at First Community Bank.

Candace Pectol would also sign and endorse the checks, knowing they had been altered and manipulated, the indictment states.

Gregory Pectol wrote checks, totaling approximately $400,000 from the First Community Bank account to himself, some of which he then deposited into his own accounts, including the farm-related account at the Merchants and Planters Bank in Newport.

Investigators said that in September 2017, Candace attempted to delay and prevent a witness from testifying before the federal grand jury.

She tried this on Sept. 5, Sept. 13 and Sept. 27, according to court documents.

The Arkansas Municipal League website no longer lists Gregory Pectol as mayor of Magness, but it doesn’t clarify when he was replaced.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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