Niles man jailed for taking thousands from bank

By DEBRA HAIGHT
Special to the Daily Star

A Niles man couldn’t explain Monday in Berrien County Trial Court what he did with more than $61,000 he took from a local bank.

Ricky Darryl Phillips

Ricky Darryl Phillips

Ricky Darryl Phillips, 54, of South Fourth Street in Niles, pleaded guilty to attempted larceny by conversion more than $20,000 and was sentenced Monday to five years probation and 270 days in jail. He has credit for 162 days already served.

He must also pay $1,758 in fines and costs and $61,500 in restitution. He cannot work in a position where he has access or control over other people’s money.

The incident occurred in late June and July at Old National Bank on South 11th Street in Niles Township. He opened a savings account June 23 using a fraudulent check from Bankers Petroleum LTD and subsequently withdrew the money over the next weeks on five separate occasions.

“This is an extremely large amount of money taken over a period of 11 days,” Assistant Prosecutor Cortney O’Malley said. “He tried to take it all at once. I’m curious where the money went as he now says he has no assets.”

That question was also raised by Berrien County Trial Judge Angela Pasula who reminded Phillips that his actions were “fraudulent from the get go.”

“It was obvious from the beginning that this was fraud and stealing,” she said. “Where did the money go?”

Phillips gave a number of explanations after initially saying that he didn’t have a good answer. He said he had used the money to bond out of jail even though he is still in jail. He then said he had given money to family members and bought and sold several vehicles.

“It was not your money to distribute,” Pasula said. “This was stealing pure and simple.”

In other sentencings, an Elkhart man who with friends stole a car they later crashed was sentenced to probation and jail.

Shane Duane Jacobs, 18, of Elkhart, pleaded guilty to attempted receiving, concealing or possession of stolen property — a motor vehicle and was sentenced to three years probation, 60 days in jail, $1,718 in fines and costs and $3,334.41 in restitution. He has credit for four days already served.

The incident occurred Jan. 12 when he and two co-defendants, Jesse Roberson and Isaiah Moutria, stole a 1997 Oldsmobile from a residence because they were cold and didn’t want to walk to where they had to go. They later hit a utility pole on South Third Street in Niles Township and abandoned the car.

“If’s snowing out and a blizzard, you go inside, you don’t take another person’s vehicle,” Pasula said. “You did not have the right to take a vehicle that doesn’t belong to you even if it’s snowy or rainy.”

Jacobs said he made a “really immature decision” and knows he needs to step up and change his life.

A South Bend woman was sentenced to probation and jail for attempted carrying a concealed weapon.

Deanna Renee Tillman, 33, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to attempted carrying a concealed weapon and was sentenced to three years probation, 90 days jail and $2,168 in fines and costs. She has credit for 45 days already served and had her weapon, a handgun, forfeited.

The incident occurred Feb. 3, at the Quality Hotel on South 11th Street in Niles. A charge of prostitution-soliciting and accosting an undercover Niles police officer was dismissed.

Defense attorney Shannon Sible said Tillman got involved in drugs after the death of her father and hopes to straighten up her life. She faces a cocaine charge in Indiana and expects to be placed on house arrest for that.

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