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King Release To Close Book On Franklin - Jan 28, 2001 - Omaha World-Herald

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Jan 28, 2001 King Release To Close Book On Franklin; [Sunrise Edition] ROBERT DORR. Omaha World - Herald. Omaha, Neb. pg. 1.B

Full Text (545   words)
(Copyright 2001 Omaha World-Herald Company)

Lawrence E. King Jr. will become the last of the figures from Omaha's Franklin Credit Union financial scandal to gain his freedom when he leaves federal prison on April 10.

King, 56, was sentenced to 15 years. He will have served nine years, nine months and 23 days. For the past four years, he has lived and worked at the campuslike low-security prison in Florence, Colo.

Little is known about where King will go or what he will do.

"He'll walk out the door sometime on April 10," said Kenneth Burton, assistant to the warden at Florence Federal Correctional Facility. "Because of privacy concerns, that's about all we can say."

King pleaded guilty in 1991 to charges stemming from the disappearance of $39 million and the 1988 collapse of Franklin Community Federal Credit Union in north Omaha, which he headed. He used the money to finance a lifestyle of chartered jets, limousines and elaborate parties. He bought $25,000 ostrich-skin coats and watches edged in diamonds.

After a time, Franklin became like a snowball rolling downhill, with huge amounts of new deposits needed just to keep paying the higher-than-market interest on old deposits. Federal officials closed the credit union on Nov. 4, 1988.

At the start of his time in prison, doctors diagnosed King as having delusions of grandeur.
After gaining his freedom, King will remain under a parole officer's supervision for three years. Prison officials declined to say whether they know where King plans to go. He will receive whatever money he has accumulated while working at the prison.

His mother, Vineta King, died Dec. 6, and King received a temporary release to come to Omaha. At her funeral, King sang "The Lord's Prayer."

An accomplished baritone who once was active in the Republican Party, King sang the national anthem at the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas.

King is under a $1 million court judgment in a civil lawsuit in Nebraska, although no one thinks he has money to pay it. Federal officials think that all the money embezzled from the credit union was frittered away in high living.

His wife, Alice King, and son, Prince King, are in Texas. Alice King served two years of a three-year sentence for filing a false income-tax return. After her 1993 release she stayed in the Dallas area, where she has worked as a teacher's aide. Prince King, 19, attends college in Fort Worth.

One of Lawrence King's acquaintances in Omaha said King told him some time ago that he wouldn't return to Omaha after his release.

The four main figures in the financial collapse - King; his wife; E. Thomas Harvey Jr., who was the credit union's bookkeeper; and his mother, Mary Jane Harvey - all served prison terms. Five lower-level Franklin employees served short prison sentences or house arrests or did community service work.

After the credit union collapse, rumors about King helped fuel widespread gossip in Omaha about a supposed pedophile ring and sexual abuse of minors by prominent Omaha men.

Two grand juries concluded that allegations by four young people had no basis in fact. Alisha Owen, one of the four accusers, went to prison for perjury. She was released last year after serving 4 1/2 years.


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