Author Archives: Marie Browning

About Marie Browning

Marie Browning Marie Browning serves at SBFI’s Editor for the ‘Capital’ series of information pages, tracking the people, events, training and opinions of business lending across the U.S. In addition,she serves as Project Coordinator to manage the production of several content initiatives for the website and production of training presentations. Her background includes experience in general business, financial management and banking, and has worked with Managing Director Charles Green at two other companies. When not focused on business lending, Marie is a nature photographer and has published an impressive body of work from her hobby. She can be contacted at

New Richmond Businessman Sentenced for Fraud

By Vijay Daundkar

U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson has sentenced James P. Henkel, 44, of Maplewood Minnesota to one year and one day in prison in a case related to a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. Henkel was accused of providing false information to First National Community Bank of New Richmond. The announcement was made by John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Henkel owned and operated Talmage Auto Center, Inc. and a Napa auto parts store in New littleman10_grnRichmond, Wisconsin between 2002 and 2009. He started taking steps to sell the businesses in 2008 and also hired a broker to assist him. In order to maximize the benefit from selling the businesses, Henkel with assistance from his bookkeeper, falsified entries in the business records to make the businesses appear more profitable than they actually were to potential buyers. The ultimate buyer who ended up buying the businesses as well as First National Community Bank of New Richmond had also been provided with the falsified records while obtaining business loan for the purchase of the business.

Henkel who also had other loans with First National Community Bank dealt directly with the bank by providing financial documents for the buyer’s loan packet. He provided an altered tax return for tax year 2008 for Talmage on March 27, 2009. It fraudulently inflated the value of the business by 25% with the help of false information that was deliberately included. The bank submitted the loan package to SBA after considering this information and also recommended approving the loan. The loan was then approved by the SBA based partly on the false information submitted by Henkel.

The business ultimately failed and both the buyer and the bank suffered losses. Judge Peterson underlined the fact that the scheme that was well thought out and complex, with several components, caused “extreme financial damages and hardship” to the buyer. The buyer has already been paid approximately $81,000 in restitution whereas the bank and SBA has been paid over $500,000.

New Richmond Police Department, the Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Przybylinski Finn handled the prosecution of the case.

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Two Mecklenburg Men Sentenced in Fraudulent Loan Scheme

Vijay Daundkar

Shawn Davis, 44, of Huntersville, and Darren Eugene Littles, 47 of Charlotte were sentenced to prison, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose. Both Davis and Littles were convicted for their role in a scheme that involved more than $1 million in fraudulent automobile and personal loans.

Davis and Littles were sentenced to 30 months and 27 months in prison respectively. The

Darren Eugene Littles

Darren Eugene Littles

prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release.  U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad also ordered Davis to pay $45,284.04 and Littles, $394,784.50 in restitution.

Both Davis and Littles each pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy as well as financial institution fraud. There are also two more defendants in the case who were sentenced March 30. Kimberly Arnell Cureton, 45, of Rock Hill pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. She was later sentenced to 24 months in prison and a year of supervised release.

Kevin Lamone Desmore, 43, of Durham pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy and making a false statement on a loan application. Desmore was sentenced to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

The four came together and conspired to provide false information and forged documents to obtain automobile and personal loans from financial institutions. According to the court documents they got fraudulent loan packages cleared from financial institutions with the help of forged documents and false information they provided on loan applications.

The court records also show that the prices of the automobiles to be purchased were inflated in the loan packages. There were many instances where the applicants tried to keep the funds obtained with the help of the fraudulent loan applications, even after they failed to make the required loan payments.

The primary facilitator of the conspiracy was Littles according to the prosecutors. He recruited the others and asked them to submit fraudulent loan applications. According to the prosecutors, Littles also contacted financial institutions and submitted fraudulent loan packages. Court documents show that Littles used stolen identities and impersonated other people to facilitate the fraud.

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Accountant Charged in Bank Fraud Indictment

By Vijay Daundkar

U.S. Attorney David Capp announced that Jack Weichman, of Muster, is facing 34 new federal charges. He was also earlier accused of stealing from a client to gamble at local casinos.  According to court records, a federal grand jury returned a 34-count superseding indictment charging Jack Weichman with nine counts of bank fraud, 14 counts of bankruptcy fraud, two counts of money laundering, four counts of wire fraud and five counts of filing false federal income tax returns, according to court records.

Weichman, a CPA, owned and operated the accounting firm Weichman and Associates as Department of Justicewell as the medical billing firm MMDS. They were into managing medical practices and provided billing, payroll, accounting and tax services to physicians. Weichman allegedly obtained more than $3 million from a physician’s bank account and secured lines of credit in the name of another client without his permission. According to the indictment, he also caused around $1 million in fraudulent withdrawals from a client’s brokerage account who was identified as Dr. B. in court papers.

Weichman also allegedly defrauded another bank by fraudulently renewing a more than $355,000 term loan. He deliberately did not reveal the information that he owed IRS about $2 million in bank taxes. He also hid the information about his assets from bankruptcy trustees and creditors during his Chapter 11 bankruptcy according to the superseding indictment. He is also accused of hiding tens of thousands of dollars paid to casinos and thousands of dollars in credit card payments used to buy cigars, sports memorabilia and cruises and handbags as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to area casinos.

The bankruptcy charges also make allegations of money laundering and wire frauds and accuse Weichman of using the money he obtained for his own benefit including gambling. Weichman was also charged with four counts of bank fraud stemming from allegations that he stole $660,000 from a physician’s account.

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Former Serra Nissan Manager Sentenced in Loan Fraud Case

By Vijay Daundkar

Abdul Islam Mughal, 49, of Trussville, a former sales manager at Serra Nissan in Birmingham was sentenced to two and a half years in prison by a federal court. Mughal was punished for his role in a fraudulent scheme to provide false information on auto loan documents. United States Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger C Stanton, and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot made the announcement. Mughal was sentenced by United States District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins on two counts of fraud at the Nissan dealership.

His employees including general managers, Serra Nissan salesmen, finance managers and Serra Nissan-VW-33sales managers pleaded guilty in July 2014 along with Mughal himself, to falsifying loan documents in order to defraud customers and financial institutions in to sell more cars. Mughal also pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud for submitting false information on loan documents to financial institutions that included Capital One Auto Finance between January 2012 and October 2013.

The government’s motion for forfeiture in the case was granted by the judge and a hearing will take place on July 2 to determine the amount restitution Mughal must pay to victims as well as the amount that must be forfeited. Mughal will have report to prison on July 28. “This defendant championed the use of predatory lending practices while he worked as a car dealership sales manager,” Vance said. “He defrauded customers and the lenders that trusted the dealership to present truthful information during the financing process,” she said.

Moghal acknowledged an incident in the plea in which he told a salesman that specific sale “could not be funded until they created a ‘legal lie’ for the bank” that showed the buyer, identified as JT ., made $5,000 per month. JT. bought a vehicle from Serra Nissan on October 16, 2012. According to court records, a bank statement was submitted to Serra Nissan by JT. That showed ending balance of $11.03. The dealership however, submitted a loan application to Capital One Auto Finance that included a fraudulent bank statement showing that the monthly deposits in the account of JT. was $6,179.

In a second instance, a customer identified as WK. only a Social Security letter was provided as proof of income. The court records show that Serra Nissan submitted a loan application on WK.’s behalf to Capital One that also included a false bank statement. The statement claimed that WK. received $2,973 in monthly Veterans Administration benefits and gave false information that WK. made $4,500 a month and was retired from the state of Alabama.

The case was investigated by FBI and IRS-CI and it is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Schlager Wick and Robin Beardsley Mark.

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Car Dealer Accused of Bank Fraud, Obstruction of Justice

By Vijay Daudnkar

Roger Eugene Hagood, 43 of Fort Myers has been charged with 13 counts of bank fraud and two counts of obstruction of justice according to a Department of Justice press release. Hagood owned and operated Coral Palm Auto Sales. He faces federal prison time for the charges mentioned above according to the press release.

Coral Palm Sales is a used car dealership Hagood used to avail financing through a third-
Coral Palm Auto Salesparty lender for his business and buy vehicles the press release further says.

Hagood provided vehicle titles as security to procure the loans. The proceeds from the vehicle sales was used to make loan payments. The third lender would release the vehicle titles that were used to secure the loan back to Coral Palm Auto Sales after each loan was paid in full.

Hagood allegedly wrote 13 checks on his business checking account that were payable to the third party lender, fully aware of the fact that the account did not have sufficient funds to cover the checks and thus engaged in a check-kiting scheme.

The third party lender wrote new loan checks on its account. The checks were made payable to Coral Palm Auto Sales on the basis of the worthless checks issued by Hagood. According to the Department of Justice indictment, Hagood’s scheme resulted in huge financial losses to federally insured financial institutions.

The indictment of the Department of Justice also alleges that Hagood in an attempt to mislead the investigators, concealed and tried to destroy documentary evidence and records in order to obstruct an official proceeding and federal investigation, the Justice Department further said.

The total amount of the bank fraud allegations is $1,592,121 and the government is seeking a forfeiture money judgment. Hagood is facing up to 30 years of imprisonment for each bank fraud count and up to 20 years of imprisonment for each obstruction of justice count.

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Owasso Developer Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud Conspiracy

By Vijay Daundkar

Fifty one year old Alan Blaksley, an Owasso developer, pleaded guilty in Tulsa Federal court to conspiring to defraud a bank of close to $1.2 million in connection with a real estate development project in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Blaksley had 12 charges of bank fraud related to an August indictment Frauddropped by prosecutors on May 8 and 12 in exchange of pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He is facing a maximum prison term of five years. The sentencing is scheduled to take place on August 13.

Blaksley’s co-defendant, Bruce Carlton Wright, 69, is scheduled to go on trial on Monday before U.S. Chief District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell of Tulsa. He was convicted of wire fraud in federal court in Oklahoma City in 1988.

Court documents show that, the International Bank & Trust received about 22 draw requests from June 2007 to July 2008 and was induced to release about $1.2 million in loan proceeds for work that wasn’t actually done on the Bentonville property.

Records indicate that Blaksley was responsible for day-to-day operations of the business and was vice president of Group Blaksley at times, president at other times. According to the prosecutors Blaksley and Wright submitted fraudulent and misleading invoices that omitted details that could help determine whether the work was actually completed or not.

The documents show that Blaksley and Wright diverted funds from allocated categories of the construction loan and would submit claims for loan disbursements for work done prior to the loan.

It was only in 2008 that an executive vice president of the bank started to ask questions about the Bentonville loan. As a result, IBC soon directed Blaksley to move the loan. IBC also foreclosed on the property and asked for the placement of a court ordered receiver.

Federal records show that both Blaskley and Wright gave depositions through the process and other civil proceedings related to the foreclosure. According to the government trial brief, Blaksley and Wright provided false information during court proceedings in an attempt to cover up the fraudulent scheme. They also tried to pass off photographs of developments at other locations as the Bentonville property development.

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Ex-Credit Union Exec Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud in Loan Scheme

By Vijay Daundkar

Former assistant vice president of risk management for the Credit Union of Georgia has pleaded guilty in a fraudulent loan scheme five days before she was scheduled to go to trial in Atlanta. Ardonus “Donna” Perkins, 40 pleaded guilty to a mail fraud that resulted in more than $300,000 in losses according to the federal authorities. Acting U.S. attorney John Horn said that during the period of January 2008 and August 2010, Perkins opened signature loans and true lines of credit at the credit union, which are open-ended personal lines of credit, in the names of unsuspecting friends and family members.

John Horn further said that Perkins took the money from the loans for her personal use Credit Union of Georgiaand refinanced auto loans without the knowledge and approval of the vehicle owners and took the proceeds. She also received cash advances on VISA accounts set up fraudulently in the names of family members and friends without their knowledge.

“This now former credit union executive used her institutional knowledge of the financial system to concoct a multifaceted fraud scheme to steal money from the credit union,” Horn said while announcing the plea.

According to the indictment issued by a federal grand jury last year, Perkins convinced her co-workers into believing that she was indeed authorized by her friends and family members to get the loans approved, receive cash advances and for auto refinancing. The loan documents then were prepared by her staff and they also recommended approval of the loans. In some cases, loans were approved even though the credit scores of Perkins’s friends and family members were way below the credit union’s standards of approval.

The fraudulent scheme came to light only after Perkins was fired in 2010 for policy violations the authorities said. She had been continuously increasing the loan limits and available credit limits on the loans to obtain more funds, the authorities further said. She also tried to conceal the fraudulent scheme by using some of the money to pay down the loans, lines of credit, and credit card accounts she had set up in the names of other people. She is scheduled to be sentenced on July 30.

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Georgia Men Accused of Defrauding Integra Bank

By Vijay Daundkar

Two men are facing criminal charges that they defrauded Integra bank in 2007 and 2009, four years after the failure of the bank. The case that is ongoing was also mentioned in a report to Congress that was released Wednesday. The charges were filed in January in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Georgia.

The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program has produced the Integra Bankquarterly report that details how the TARP program is being managed and whether TARP funds are being properly used.

Ronald Onorato and Larry Milder are indicted in the criminal indictment of defrauding both Integra Bank and Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington National Bank. Both Onorato and Milder face two counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

The incident occurred when Onoroto was serving as chief executive officer of Northpoint Group according to the indictment. The development company is based in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Georgia. Milder was working as CEO of Northpoint Group.

Northpoint created Point Berkeley III which is a limited liability corporation under its umbrella. Point Berkeley III was created to build a seven-story commercial, retail and office building in Duluth, Georgia.

Integra received an application for $35.6 million construction loan for the Duluth project in the fall of 2007 according to the indictment. A second bank, Huntington National was brought in because of the size of the loan. The loan of $35.6 million was sanctioned in December 2007 out of which $20 million was funded by Huntington and $15.6 million by Integra.

The terms of the loan allowed Point Berkeley to draw on the loan after submitting invoices documenting project-related expenses.

Point Berkeley spent $378,615 on site work in December 2007 but fraudulently submitted invoices in the amount of $1.7 million to Integra. Onorato and Milder kept the overpayment of $1.3 million to themselves.

A 15th loan draw request was submitted by Point Berkley in July 2009. The request was for $456,374, out of which $438,144 was for work done by Ordner Construction. The indictment says that Onorato kept the entire amount of $456,374 to himself upon receiving it from Integra.

Integra being a TARP recipient, the Special Inspector General for TARP was interested in the case.  Integra failed in July 2011 without repaying the $83.6 million TARP funding it had received in February 2009. When Point Berkley defaulted on the loan, Integra had already received the TARP funding. Onorato and Milder’s defense attorneys were not available for comment.

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Burlingame Businessman Pleads Guilty to $1.96M Loan Fraud

By Ogozi John

A former grocery store owner in the Bay Area neighborhood has pleaded guilty to defrauding banks and the Small Business Administration of about $1.96 million.

Nimer Anton Massis, 40, of Burlingame, CA., pleaded guilty to the charges before a federal Good Loan Officercourt in San Francisco for making false statements in several loan applications to three banks and the SBA.

In 2007 alone, Massis applied for and obtained three sets of loans from Citibank totaling $700,000 using three different business names and he defaulted on each of the loans.

The following year,  Massis applied for a ’working capital’ of $250,000 through an SBA loan which was approved and issued by Mission National Bank. In the loan application, Massis was required to disclose “business indebtedness” and “all outstanding installment debts, contracts, notes and mortgages payable.” He failed to do so as he did not disclose the outstanding debt owed to Citibank, neither was it included in his personal financial statement.

Massis later defaulted on this loan, leading to losses for the SBA and Missions National Bank.

Massis obtained yet another loan under the SBA 504 loan program where $965,000 was disbursed to hum through One California Bank and Capital Access Group. In the loan application, which was under another business name, Massis failed to disclose his indebtedness to Citibank and three months after, he defaulted on this loan.

In all, Massis received about $1.96 million and was still owing about $1 million in debt before the fraud was uncovered by the FBI which led to the charges and his guilty plea.

Massis will be sentenced on July 23, and he faces an obligatory 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

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Former VP at TARP-Recipient Bank Convicted for Wire Fraud

By Ogozi John

A senior loan officer at a TARP-recipient bank has been convicted on five counts of wire fraud, according to an announcement by John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin and Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP.

David Weimert , 64, of Madison, Wis., served as the senior vice president in Lending Administration Anchor BankCorpof Anchor BanCorp Wisconsin, Inc. (ABCW) and as the president of Investment Direction Inc. (IDI), a subsidiary of ABCW.

Weimert used his position to defraud the bank in order to obtain ownership stakes and receive commission in the sales of properties which the bank sold to raise funds to remedy financial trouble during the financial crisis.

Evidence in court also revealed how Weimert lied and misrepresented facts in order to gain an ownership interest and a 4% commission fee in the sales of Chandler Creek, a joint venture partnership to develop an industrial park in Round Bank, Texas.

In a testimony by his bank supervisors, Weimart reported that Burke Group, a California-based real estate developer, gave the condition they would only purchase IDI’s share of Chandler Creek if Weimart would also purchase a minority interest in Chandler Creek.

But Weimart did not tell the Board of Directors that he actually desired to own a minority interest for himself, and not as a demand by the Burke Group.

Based on this misleading information, IDI’s Board approved the Burke’s group offer, and Weimert received 4.785% interest in Chandler Creek and pocketed $311,680 as 4% commission fee from the sale.

In January 2009, ABCW, the parent company of Anchor Bank, received $110 million through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. In August 2013, Anchor Bank filed for bankruptcy and the federal government suffered a loss of $104 million on the investment and another $23 million that was owed to TARP.

Weimart now faces up to 20 years in prison on each count; sentencing has been scheduled for June 16 by U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson.


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