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Former S&L Officer Convicted of Tax Evasion

June 21, 1991

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A former Columbia Savings & Loan executive was convicted Friday of tax evasion for failing to report $200,000 he accepted from a businessman charged with defrauding the Beverly Hills thrift of millions of dollars.

Gilbert Fuentes, 59, chief financial officer for Columbia for six years, was convicted of one count of tax evasion. Sentencing was scheduled for July 29 before U.S. District Judge Manuel Real.

Prosecutors contend Fuentes accepted money from his former employer, Michael Parker, in exchange for keeping quiet about a fraudulent lease deal. Fuentes was convicted of failing to report the money on tax returns filed with the federal Internal Revenue Service.

Parker, 43, and Jeffrey Worthy, 33, a former Columbia director of financial planning, face trial on racketeering charges. They are accused of defrauding Columbia by overvaluing equipment leased to the thrift and charging for equipment that did not exist.

Columbia, which invested billions of dollars in junk bonds, was seized by federal regulators in January.

In the summer of 1985, Fuentes left Columbia to work for Parker’s firm, Parker North American Corp., which had sold $166 million in lease packages to Columbia.

Fuentes worked for Parker until the following April, when he left because of business disputes. On June 15, 1986, Fuentes wrote Parker to demand $400,000, saying he knew Parker was paying Worthy kickbacks for the lease deals. Parker paid Fuentes $200,000 with a cashier’s check, prosecutors said.

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