Articles Posted in Bank Fraud

Published on:


Federal authorities have charged the pastor of a Texas megachurch and a Louisiana financial planner with defrauding elderly investors out of more than $1 million.

The two men were charged Friday with six counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering, as well as one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has also filed civil charges against the men for the alleged fraud, which occurred from 2013 to 2014.

One man, 64, is the senior pastor of a church Houston, which is described by the SEC as “one of the largest Protestant churches in the U.S.” The Louisian man, 55, is the manager of a financial group in Shreveport.

They’re accused of bilking 29 mostly elderly investors by selling them Chinese bonds issued before the revolution of 1949, saying that their historical value made them “worth tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars” according to a court document from the SEC.

The bonds have no investment value.

The SEC says the bonds have been in default since 1939, and the “current Chinese government refuses to recognize the debt.”

The funds collected were used to pay for personal expenses, including mortgage payments and luxury automobiles.

The DOJ says they allegedly defrauded the investors out of more than $1 million. The SEC places that figure higher, at $3.4 million.

The maximum sentence, if they’re convicted, is 20 years with a $1 million fine, as well as restitution and forfeiture, according to the DOJ.

The crime of money laundering uses financial transactions to conceal the origin of money obtained through illegal activity, to make it appear that the money came from a legitimate source. This is a very serious offense that can carry severe penalties, including steep fines and jail time if you are found guilty.

Continue reading

Published on:


Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen invested more than $20 million with a financial adviser he says had come highly recommended by the team who has just been sentenced to three years behind bars for fraud.

The 66-year-old former money advisor was convicted of a variety of fraud schemes that included forging Pippen’s signature on a $1.4 million loan that he used to pay off personal debts.

In his ruling, the judge found that the advisor had lied at trial about forging Pippen’s signature as well as by claiming he’d gotten the go-ahead to apply for a second loan in the name of another victim.

In addition to the prison time, the judge ordered the man to forfeit $2.7 million and pay an additional $1.5 million in restitution, including $400,000 directly to Pippen.

The man was convicted by a jury in 2014 of five counts of bank fraud. Prosecutors claim he illegally obtained a total of about $3 million in loans from Oak Brook-based Leaders Bank, which included the $1.4 million loan that he claimed Pippen needed to invest in a private jet. The man apparently instead spent most of the money for his own benefit, making mortgage payments and paying other investment clients, prosecutors said.

Bank fraud is a criminal offense defined as deliberately and knowingly carrying out a scheme to defraud a financial institution. Basically, bank fraud is the use of fraudulent means to obtain money, assets, or other property that is owned or in the control of a bank or other financial institution. Bank fraud can be committed in a variety of ways including the following:

  • Mail fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Making false statements on loan applications
  • Falsifying documents
  • Forging checks
  • Loan fraud
  • Counterfeiting bank documents

Continue reading

Published on:


A 63-year-old man was sentenced to six years in federal prison last week for bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud.

The man pleaded guilty to the above charges on March 14, 2013.

Court records indicate that the man was president and director of a realty company in southwest Florida. In June 1990, he apparently created a Trust Agreement for approximately 101 acres of unimproved land, in Cape Coral for which he was the trustee and also one of its beneficiaries, along with 52 named combined interest holders or beneficiaries. He mortgaged the trust property without the consent of the other beneficiaries by submitting fraudulently altered trust agreements to multiple banks that named him as the sole beneficiary.

The man also executed various loan documents, where he falsely claimed to be the sole beneficiary, giving him the authorization to mortgage the property. He received $2 million from Florida Community Bank in 2002 for the first mortgage loan. He then paid that loan off in 2006 with a mortgage loan exceeding $17 million from First National Bank of Pennsylvania. Court documents show that the man used most of the money from the second loan for personal use to fund other projects. He defaulted on the First National Bank of Pennsylvania mortgage loan, causing the bank to foreclose on the property in October 2009, leaving an unpaid principal balance of $17.03 million.

mortgage betch.jpgThe beneficiaries of the 101 acres have yet to receive compensation for their initial payments as interest holders, yearly payments or for the increase in the value of the Trust property.

Bank fraud violations, along with other white collar crimes are harshly punished in the state of Florida and throughout the United States. Under federal statutes, a conviction for bank or mortgage fraud may carry up to $1 million in penalties and 30 years in federal prison. Attempting to commit bank fraud carries the same penalties as the actual crime itself.

Once a conviction is achieved in bank fraud cases, sentencing generally depends on the amount of money lost in the scheme. A Lee County Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help those accused of bank fraud fight the severe ramifications of a bank fraud conviction.

Continue reading

Published on:


A 36-year-old Tampa resident that appeared on Bravo television’s The Millionaire Matchmaker in 2009 claiming he was worth $400 million and operated a company with business in 36 nations plead guilty Monday in federal court to bank fraud charges.

The man apparently confessed that he received a $3 million loan in the months before his television appearance by faking he had tens of millions of dollars squirreled in two banks.

The plea came in Monday afternoon and was a shock to lawyers working the case who had apparently spent the morning selecting a jury in a trial that was anticipated to last a week.

The man entered an open plea, which means he has no deal on a sentence arranged with prosecutors. The judge scheduled his sentencing for Aug. 9.

The man’s court-appointed attorney claims the man feared losing at trial and decided against taking a risk.

The man will remain in custody until sentencing. His bail was revoked last year after prosecutors accused him of attempting to purchase two luxury vehicles while awaiting trial.

Prosecutors allege the man began pursuing the loan in 2008, telling the bank he needed the funds for his business, a company specializing in processing electronic payments on the Internet.

The man had two co-conspirators, prosecutors allege. One apparently worked at a bank and produced a fraudulent letter confirming the man had $21 million on deposit, which the man used as collateral on the $3 million loan.

Additional fraudulent documents were allegedly used to obtain the loan including bank statements and tax returns for 2006 and 2007. According to reports, the man did not file returns in those years.

The man apparently met with a bank official in the Caribbean regarding the loan in November2008. Another alleged co-conspirator impersonated a Caribbean bank representative claiming the man had $145 million on deposit there.

Also on Monday, one alleged co-conspirator pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges. He will also be sentenced in August.

A second alleged co-conspirator has apparently agreed to cooperate with authorities.

In the state of Florida, bank fraud is classified as a serious federal crime that can carry consequences of up to 30 years in state prison and fines up to $1,000,000. These cases are investigated by federal agencies that devote countless hours and resources to uncovering evidence of bank fraud and other financial crimes. In an effort to seek the maximum penalties, these same agencies will often employ federal prosecutors to try these cases in court.

Bank fraud may be committed in a number of ways. Some of these may include:

• Falsifying loan documents
• Making false statements
• Forging checks
Wire fraud involving a bank

Mail fraud involving a bank

• Loan Fraud
Counterfeiting loan documents

• Forging Letters of Credit
Regardless of the specific bank fraud charges you are facing, the Florida White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help. The federal laws related to bank fraud can be confusing. If you are suspected of bank fraud, do not waste any time seeking legal counsel. These charges are serious and can deliver life-altering consequences.

Continue reading

Contact Information