Phoenix businesswoman gets prison for $50M bank fraud scheme

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Prosecutors say 50-year-old Deborah Ann Weidenhamer also was ordered by a U.S. District Court judge Wednesday to pay full restitution. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Prosecutors say 50-year-old Deborah Ann Weidenhamer also was ordered by a U.S. District Court judge Wednesday to pay full restitution. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
American Auctions had been in business for 20 years and had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) American Auctions had been in business for 20 years and had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (AP) -

A Phoenix businesswoman who fraudulently obtaining more than $50 million in bank loans has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison.

Prosecutors say 50-year-old Deborah Ann Weidenhamer also was ordered by a U.S. District Court judge Wednesday to pay full restitution.

Weidenhamer previously pleaded guilty to seven counts of bank fraud.

She was the owner and CEO of American Auction Company Inc., a Phoenix-based business that provided auction and appraisal services.

Despite her business losing money every year since at least 2009, Weidenhamer persuaded multiple banks to lend her money by submitting fabricated financial statements between 2008 and 2013.

[RELATED: Abrupt closure of Phoenix auction house puzzles customers]

Her total line of credit increased from $10 million in 2008 to $55 million in 2015.

Auditors discovered the fraud early last year and lenders declared the loan in default.

During a routine audit in early 2016, the lenders discovered Weidenhamer's fraudulent conduct and declared the loan in default.

At the time, the outstanding balance of her loan was over $52.4 million.

After her default, Weidenhamer voluntarily cooperated with the lenders, the FBI, and U.S. Attorney's Office and provided a full confession.  

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