By Ogozi John
A Springfield businessman and his son have pleaded guilty in two separate cases, both of which are connected to a multi-million dollar bank fraud scheme.
Bruce Swisshelm, 68, of Battlefield, Mo., and his son Bruce Swisshelm II, 43, of Springfield, Mo., made separate appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush where Swisshelm pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering, while Swisshelm II pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony.
Swisshelm owned Horned Frog Deli, Inc., and Swisshelm Properties, Inc. through which he established and operated a chain of restaurants that included; Burger King restaurants, Macaroni Grill restaurants, San Francisco Oven restaurants, Ebbett’s Field restaurants and a Fog City Coffee restaurant, he also developed and owned commercial properties in Springfield and elsewhere. Swisshelm II served as the president of Swisshelm Properties.
Swisshelm admitted in court to have submitted false financial documents in order to obtain loans from Great Southern Bank. In the submitted documents, Swisshelm claimed that his businesses generated a net income of more than $780,000 in 2010, but tax documents submitted to the Internal Revenue Service showed that those businesses had losses that exceeded $1.8 million in 2010.
From February to June 25, 2011, Swisshelm received four commercial loans totaling $5,592,583 from Great Southern Bank.
Swisshelm II, in a separate court appearance, admitted to knowing about his father’s bank fraud scheme and that he was personally involved in communications with Great Southern Bank, attended meetings at the bank and signed bank documents related to the issuance of the commercial loans. Even after the loans were released and he was informed of the scheme, he failed to disclose it to the authorities.
According to the terms of the plea agreement, Swisshelm must forfeit $5,592,583, which is the amount he obtained from the fraud, to the government, .
Swisshelm also faces a sentencing of up to 40 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1,250,000 and an order of restitution. While Swisshelm II faces a sentence of up to three years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000.