Former Willamette Country Music Fest president pleads guilty to fraud charges

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EUGENE Ore. (KPTV) – The former president of Willamette Country Music Concerts pleaded guilty on Wednesday to falsifying bank statements and financial summaries to influence the sale of her stake in the company.

According to the Oregon District Attorney, Anne Hankins, 53, of Springfield, was a minority owner, as well as president, who planned, managed and promoted the annual Willamette Country Music Festival in Linn County.

“With today’s guilty plea, Ms. Hankins has been proven to be a serial fraudster,” said Craig Gabriel, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “Falsifying bank statements and laundering money to fraudulently inflate the value of a business are serious federal crimes.”

Officials say that from September 2016 until March 2018, Hankins provided altered bank statements and false financial summaries to the majority owner to conceal the group’s financial situation.

The prosecutor’s office said that in November 2017, the majority owner approached Hankins to buy his stake in the company and have Hankins continue as president of the company. In February 2018, Hankins falsely reported that the company had approximately $1.1 million in its bank account. In reality, there was only $16,000 in the company’s account.

Based on the falsified information, Hankins’ stake in the company was sold for $1.5 million, authorities said.

Hankins then ordered his credit union to issue a cashier’s check from his account to the clerk of the Oregon District Court to satisfy a restitution order on a previous 2001 bank fraud conviction.

On September 12, 2022, Hankins was charged with one count of wire fraud and money laundering.

According to the prosecutor’s office, anger fraud is punishable by 20 years in federal prison and money laundering by 10 years in federal prison. Both counts can also result in fines of up to $250,000, which is double the gross gains or losses from the offense, and three years’ supervised release.

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