A federal judge this afternoon sentenced a former loan officer to four years in prison for siphoning more than $1 million from Tacoma Rescue Mission accounts to make under-the-table loans to friends and associates.
Jeffrey Goodell, who worked at Northwest Commercial Bank, pleaded guilty last fall to bank fraud. Goodell told U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle at his sentencing hearing that he never intended to defraud anyone.
“I’m humiliated over the pain I’ve caused my family, my previous employer,” he said.
Settle said he found it hard to believe Goodell didn’t know what he did was wrong.
“You’re smart enough to know that all these things were going to happen,” said the judge, who also ordered Goodell to make restitution to the bank to the tune of more than $917,000.
Federal prosecutor Arlen Storm had asked for a sentence of five years, three months, saying Goodell not only gave the money away but spent as much as $5,000 of it for plumbing work at his home.
“He was clearly profiting from this scheme,” Storm said.
Goodell’s attorney, Michael Clark, asked for a sentence of two years. Clark said his client suffers from mental-health problems — including bi-polar disorder — that might have affected his judgment.
“I think Mr. Goodell has some very serious mental health issues he’s yet to wrap his mind around,” Clark said.
Allegations that Goodell was defrauding the bank using the Rescue Mission’s accounts came to light in 2010 when mission officials became concerned about apparent discrepancies in their accounts, court records show. Investigators found Goodell had taken money from three mission accounts and diverted it to people he knew then falsified documents and lied to his bosses and mission officials about where the money had gone, the records show. The mission in August 2010 had opened a $500,000 money market account and two lines of credit, one for $500,000 and another for $100,000.
Mission officials said much of the money was needed to finish its Adams Street Family Center, which provides housing for 36 homeless families.
The bank made the mission whole and fired Goodell, who was charged two years later.
Settle ordered Goodell, who had been free pending sentencing, taken into custody immediately.