Rantoul man gets 10 years for robbing credit union

Rantoul man gets 10 years for robbing credit union

URBANA — A Rantoul man who blamed his decision to rob a credit union on his use of drugs was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison.

"I am truly sorry. Not a day goes by that I do not regret what I did," Matthew Olivero told Judge Tom Difanis. "I ask for the maximum probation or a very, very short prison sentence."

Olivero, 41, who listed an address in the Fountain Valley Trailer Park, told the judge he doesn't believe in the use of guns or carrying them.

However, he didn't have a problem implying that he had one Jan. 29 when he robbed a teller at Credit Union 1, 200 E. Champaign Ave., of about $9,100, most of which was recovered at his home following a fairly quick arrest.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery in July. Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar agreed not to seek a prison term in excess of 12 years.

The maximum is 15 years, but Lozar recommended 10, while Assistant Public Defender George Vargas asked for another shot at probation for his client, who he said has mental-health and substance-abuse issues, or a sentence near the minimum of four years in prison.

Difanis acknowledged Olivero's mental and substance-abuse problems and agreed with Vargas that he is not dangerous. But he said Olivero has had ample opportunity, given his seven prior convictions, to address his issues.

The sentence, he said, needed to deter others.

"Banks are an easy prey for individuals who wish to take advantage of the policy of 'Just give the person the money,'" Difanis said.

To aggravate Olivero's sentence, Lozar had two Champaign County sheriff's deputies testify about two different occasions in 2017 when Olivero called them to report that unauthorized charges were being run up on his debit card or withdrawals were being made from his account.

Both deputies investigated and found surveillance video at stores that showed Olivero was the one actually making the purchases. After being given a pass on his first complaint, Olivero was arrested when he made a second report that someone was making withdrawals from his bank account. However, that case was dismissed in return for his guilty plea to the credit-union holdup.

Difanis agreed to recommend Olivero for substance-abuse treatment in prison if space is available.

Olivero was given credit on his sentence for 221 days already served.

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