Two former Peoria developers plead ‘not guilty’ to federal charges of mail fraud, money laundering

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Two Peoria businessmen and former developers accused of stealing and embezzling funds from the Pere Marquette hotel are maintaining their innocence.

Gary E. Matthews, 78, and Monte J. Brannan, 67, appeared virtually before a judge Tuesday afternoon for an initial hearing.

Both men plead not guilty after being charged with five counts of mail fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy, nine counts of money laundering, and an additional three counts of money laundering— charges that could carry up to 20 years in prison.

Brannan faces a maximum statutory penalty for three counts of concealment of bankruptcy assets, which would earn him up to five years in prison.

After entering the not guilty plea and requesting a trial by jury, both men were released on bond.

Matthews requested a public defender, while Brannan asked to maintain his current legal counsel.

Both are scheduled for a virtual pre-trial on March 18 and their jury trial is set for April 5 and 9 a.m.

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