Gary Lee Hammonds, 59, was sentenced Nov. 6 by 115th District Judge Lauren Parish during a two-day non-jury trial in which he sought probation, Byrd said. The trial began Nov. 2, the district attorney said.
Byrd said Hammonds in 2007 received three loans totaling more than $415,000 from First National Bank of Gilmer to purchase cattle. Hammonds admitted selling the bank's cattle, but the institution received no repayment, and Hammonds admitted using the proceeds to pay on loans at other banks, Byrd said.
Hammond also admitted lying to bank officials when showing them cattle during inspections after 2007 as “These cattle never belonged to him, but were other people's cattle,” Byrd said.
Judge Parish said she imposed the 20-year term because of the high amount of loss to the bank, Byrd said. With penalties and interest, the total was nearly $500,000, he said.
Former Titus County Judge Sam Russell, a Mount Pleasant attorney, represented Hammond. Bank president and CEO Kelly Stretcher testified during the proceeding, Byrd said.
“Our local banks are very important to our community. I hope that individuals who might choose to steal or commit fraud on them look at this sentence and think twice before making such choices,” the district attorney said.