Former banker pleads guilty for role in Texas bank’s failure
Feb 23, 2021 | Republished by LIT; Feb 24, 2021
SHERMAN, Texas – A former bank president has been sentenced to federal prison for violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting United States Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei today.
Anita Gail Moody, 57, of Cooper, Texas pleaded guilty on June 5, 2020, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and arson and was sentenced to 96 months (8 Years) in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III. Moody has additionally agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $11,136,241.82.
According to information presented in court, on May 11, 2019, while Moody was President of Enloe State Bank in Cooper, Texas, the bank suffered a fire that investigators later determined to be arson. The fire was contained to the bank’s boardroom, however the entire bank suffered smoke damage. Investigation revealed that several files had been purposefully stacked on the boardroom table, all of which were burned in the fire. Notably, the bank was scheduled for a review by the Texas Department of Banking the very next day. Further investigation revealed Moody had created false nominee loans in the names of several people, including actual bank customers.
Moody eventually admitted to setting the fire in the boardroom to conceal her criminal activity concerning the false loans. She also admitted to using the fraudulently obtained money to fund her boyfriend’s business, other businesses of friends, and her own lifestyle. The fraudulent activity, which began in 2012, resulted in a loss to the bank of approximately $11 million.
“Criminal conduct that affects the financial health of a small, local lender can send a negative ripple effect throughout the entire community,” said Acting United States Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. “The Eastern District of Texas will vigorously prosecute cases, such as the one here, that undermine public confidence in our local banks. We are also deeply appreciative of the excellent investigative work of the FDIC Office of the Inspector General, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in bringing this matter to a close.”
Jeannie Swaim, who served as vice president of Enloe State Bank, and who was also involved in fraudulent conduct, was previously sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment, and agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $410,675.18.
This case was investigated by the FDIC-OIG and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Maureen Smith and Wes Wynne.
Former banker pleads guilty for role in Texas bank’s failure
June 9, 2020 | Republished by LIT; Jan 24, 2021
A former president at Enloe State Bank in Cooper, Texas, has pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Anita Gail Moody also pleaded guilty to arson in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, the Justice Department said in a Monday press release. Moody was president of the bank when it failed on May 31, 2019.
Moody admitted to starting a fire in the bank’s boardroom on May 11, 2019, to destroy phony loan documents she had created in the names of bank customers and others, according to the release.
She also admitted using money fraudulently obtained from the fake loan documents to fund a boyfriend’s business, friends’ businesses and her own lifestyle.
The fraudulent activity, which began in 2012, resulted in a loss to the bank of about $11 million, the release said.
Moody agreed to a sentence of 84 months in federal prison and will pay restitution of more than $11.1 million.
While Legend Bancorp in Bowie, Texas, bought all of the $36.7 million-asset Enloe’s insured deposits, it purchased just 14% of its assets. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. estimated at the time that the failure would cost the Deposit Insurance Fund roughly $27 million, or three-fourths of Enloe’s asset size.
We wrote about this case twice in 2019 and it went quiet. Now it’s back and there’s a bank manager convicted of stealing $11m and given a very short jail sentence considering the crime. But this doesn’t resolve the case as far as LIT is concerned. The mathematics is totally out. When we headlined the case last year, the FDIC said it paid out $27m in losses. Now jailed bank manager Moddy has admitted to $11m, so where’s the other $16m? We’d like to know as I am sure many others would as well.
Texas bank president stole $11million by writing more than 100 fake loans – and then tried to cover up the crime by setting fire to records in the boardroom
Former small-town Texas bank president Anita Gail Moody, 57, has pleaded guilty to federal counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and arson (mugshot from unrelated DWI arrest)
– Anita Gail Moody, 57, pleaded guilty to federal counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and arson
– Moody was president of Enloe State Bank in Cooper, Texas, when in May 2019 fire was reported in the boardroom, which was determined to be arson
– Pile of financial files were burned on boardroom table a day before scheduled review by the Texas Department of Banking
– Moody admitted to writing more than 100 bogus loans and stealing around $11million between 2012 and May 2019
– Moody agreed to a sentence of 84 months in federal prison, and she also must pay restitution
The former president of a small-town East Texas bank has admitted to stealing more than $11million and then setting fire to financial documents to cover up her crime.
Anita Gail Moody, 57, on Friday pleaded guilty to federal counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and arson.
According to information presented in court, for a decade Moody served as president of Enloe State Bank in Cooper, Texas – a prairie town of 2,000.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Moody had worked at the banking institution founded in Enloe in 1928 in various capacities from the time she was a teenager.
On May 11, 2019, a day before the bank was scheduled for a routine review by the Texas Department of Banking, someone had stacked files on the boardroom table and set them on fire.
The blaze was contained to the bank’s boardroom, but the entire building sustained smoke damage. The fire was later determined to be arson, according to a statement from the US Justice Department.
A subsequent investigation revealed that Moody had created more than 100 fake loans in the names of several people, including some actual bank customers.
Moody eventually admitted to starting the fire in the boardroom in a desperate bid to cover up the fraudulent loans.
She also confessed to using the $11million stolen from the bank between 2012-2019 to fund her boyfriend’s business, friends’ businesses, and her own ‘lifestyle.’
Moody has agreed to a sentence of 84 months in federal prison. She also must pay restitution in the amount of $11,136,241.82.
The Texas Department of Banking on May 31, 2019, closed Enloe State bank, citing ‘insider abuse and fraud by former officers.’
It was the first bank failure in the nation since Washington Federal Bank for Savings closed in Illinois in December 2017.
Records indicate that in March 2017, Moody was arrested in Hopkins, Texas, on a DWI charge. It is unclear how that case was resolved.
Former Glendale Bank Manager Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft Scheme and Admits Federal Bank Fraud
A former Wells Fargo bank manager in Glendale, CA who was facing allegations that he unfroze suspicious accounts in connection with a $14 million identify theft scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service has pleaded guilty to the federal criminal charges.
News reports about the case said the defendant, Hakop Zakaryan, 34, admitted to aiding in the felony bank fraud case as part his plea agreement with federal prosecutors.
He was charged along with other defendants in connection with an unlawful operation involving thousands of false claims using stolen identities.
This information came from a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office. The defendant was accused of lying to the bank’s loss prevention department to give clients fraudulent access to the accounts which were flagged due to suspicious activity. He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in a federal prison.
Our California criminal defense lawyers provide an overview of federal bank fraud charges below.
What is Federal Bank Fraud Under 18 U.S.C. 1344?
Bank fraud is a crime defined as when someone knowingly executes, or attempts to execute a scheme to defraud a financial institution, or obtain property owned a financial institution, by means of fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.
Bank fraud cases can range from the infamous theft or embezzlement of money by a bank employee to a much more complicated scheme to defraud a financial institution based upon false statements, such as false loan applications and misuse of money.
Since the rise of online banking, internet bank fraud has become more common. 18 U.S.C. Section 1344 is the statute that criminalizes defrauding a bank or committing a scheme to defraud involving accounts of a financial institution.
Under 18 U.S.C. 1344 provides punishment for anyone who knowingly executes a scheme, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice:
To defraud any financial institution
To obtain money, funds, securities, or other property owned by a financial institution by using false pretenses or promises.
Additionally, 18 U.S.C. Section 1014 makes it a federal crime to make false statements to a financial institution. If you are convicted of bank fraud, you could face up to 30 years in federal prison, a fine up to $1,000,000, or both.
The financial institutions covered by 18 U.S.C. 1344 are those that are federally insured, such as by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This includes all major banks and most bank related entities.
How Does the Prosecutor Prove Federal Bank Fraud?
In order for a federal prosecutor to convict you of federal bank fraud under 18 USC 1344, they have to be able to prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – certain elements of the crime that:
You executed, or attempted to execute a scheme that was charged in the indictment that you defrauded a financial institution to obtain their money by using false or fraudulent pretenses
You knowingly and willfully participated in this fraudulent scheme with specific intent to defraud in order to obtain money by means of false or fraudulent pretenses
The financial institution in question was federally insured, a federal reserve bank, or a Federal Reserve System member
What are the Possible Defenses to Federal Bank Fraud?
The crime of Bank Fraud under 18 U.S.C. § 1344 is an enhanced legal penalty for fraud committed against a certain classification of victims, like in this case a financial institution.
Therefore, the defenses that can be used by your federal criminal defense lawyer for bank fraud charges will be similar to the defenses used for most fraud crime allegations.
Typically, in order to prove a fraud, the federal prosecutor must establish that you made a knowingly false statement – and you intended them to rely on the statement – and they did in fact, rely on your statement that caused them to suffer a financial loss. Each step in the defense process could be challenged for insufficient evidence.
That said, an experienced federal criminal defense can use a variety of legal defenses on your behalf against federal bank fraud charges in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. These include:
It might be possible to prove you didn’t know the statement made to the financial institution was false.
Alternatively, it might be possible to show financial institution knew from the beginning your statement was false, and didn’t rely on it. In some bank fraud cases, the false statement is actually believed and relied upon, but the financial institution did not suffer a financial loss as a result.
We might be able to show you didn’t participate in a scheme to defraud the financial institution. If you weren’t involved in the scheme or the incident didn’t involve obtaining money from the financial institution, but rather a member of the bank or other connection, you shouldn’t be convicted of federal bank fraud. In such a case however, you might be convicted of other federal crimes.
The financial institution in question did not face a real threat of potential loss. It should be noted that it’s not required that the financial institution suffered an actual financial loss. However, if our defense lawyers can show the financial institution was never facing a potential loss, in spite of how the fraudulent scheme occurred, you should be able to avoid a bank fraud conviction.
It’s important to note that each federal bank fraud case is fact-specific and depend on particular circumstances. This means the best defense strategy to use on your bank fraud case depends on a thorough examination of the prosecutor’s evidence.
The former manager of a Wells Fargo branch in Glendale pleaded guilty to using his position to aid a $14-million money laundering scam involving tax refunds. (LIT UPDATE; Sentencing still pending – see docket )
Ex-bank manager gets 5.5 years in prison for $5.2 million theft
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
A federal judge told a former Miamisburg bank manager that “deterrence has meaning” before sentencing her to 5½ years in federal prison for embezzling $5.215 million.
U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice said he came to “inescapable conclusion” that former U.S. Bank manager Amy Scarpelli, of West Carrollton, tried to “conceal the fruits of her embezzlement.”
Rice picked a number on the high side of the 48- to 70-month sentencing range agreed to in a plea deal between federal prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Prosecutors said Scarpelli used the money to gamble millions of dollars at Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Ind., and to purchase four vehicles — including two 1967 Chevrolet Camaros — plus six motorcycles, three boats, two travel trailers, a golf cart and real estate in three Ohio counties. Many of the assets were put in the name of Scarpelli’s partner, Deanna Leis. All will be forfeited.
Prior to sentencing, Scarpelli told Rice: “I’ve taken ownership and responsibility of my actions.”
Scarpelli was ordered to pay restitution of $250,000 to U.S. Bank and $4.965 million to the bank’s insurance company. She pleaded guilty in April 2015. Sentencing was delayed for several reasons.
Scarpelli also was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, be on five years’ supervised release after prison, resolve Internal Revenue Service tax issues, get a mental health assessment and treatment, and ordered to attend Gambler’s Anonymous.
“I’m glad there’s closure,” defense attorney Dennis Gump said. “Maybe not exactly what we wanted. But he did adopt the plea agreement, which saved a lot of time.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheila Lafferty argued for a sentence on the high end of the range while Scarpelli’s attorneys asked for 48 months and cited other embezzlement cases.
“I think this is something that she is sincerely sorry for and remorseful,” Gump said.
Scarpelli left Dayton’s Federal Building without comment and remained on electronic home detention. She will be allowed to voluntarily surrender in a few weeks. Her attorneys asked to let her attend her nephew’s June 11 wedding. Rice hadn’t yet ruled on that motion.
Defense attorneys Lawrence Greger and Gump argued that Scarpelli’s gambling addiction led to her actions. Rice acknowledged that in part, noting Scarpelli’s “icon” status at the casino.
Rice said Scarpelli was “not just motivated by a gambling addiction, though that was a significant factor.” Rice also said that when they get their hooks into someone with a gambling addiction, “they don’t let go.”
But the judge also referenced a psychiatric report that said Scarpelli had “anti-social” tendencies and was not amenable to rehabilitation. Rice said Scarpelli’s crimes involved hundreds of transactions over years.
The U.S. Secret Service distributed a statement that it “is dedicated to pursuing and arresting those who victimize our community and businesses” and thanked the Southern District of Ohio Financial Crimes Task Force, West Carrollton police Det. Robert Bell and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The U.S. Dept. of Justice also thanked Miamisburg police Chief John Sedlak.
Scarpelli started at the branch in 1996 and became branch manager in 2006.
Meanwhile in Arkansas; Ex-Searcy bank manager admits theft of $329,240
Jan 31, 2020
A former manager of a Searcy branch of First Community Bank admitted Thursday to a federal judge that she embezzled $329,240.68 while working there from September 2014 through July 2018.
U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker accepted a guilty plea from Amanda McClish, 42, of Searcy, to a single charge of embezzlement of bank funds, for which she will be sentenced in a few months.
Accompanied in Baker’s Little Rock courtroom by defense attorney Hubert Alexander of Jacksonville, McClish waived her right to have the charge reviewed by a federal grand jury and pleaded guilty to an information.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Jegley said that if McClish had gone to trial, prosecutors expected to prove that McClish used a variety of methods to embezzle funds from customers. For example, Jegley said, McClish closed one man’s account and opened another, depositing $5,000 less in the new account. Jegley said McClish also stole from customers’ certificates of deposit by making cash withdrawals or issuing cashier’s checks made out to the customer and then forging them to cash them.
The thefts were discovered while McClish was on vacation in 2018, when a customer called the bank to ask questions about account activity. Jegley said irregularities found by a bank employee responding to the customer’s inquiry prompted a call to McClish while she was still on vacation. She said McClish admitted stealing money from the account and immediately repaid it. A subsequent investigation then revealed thefts from other accounts, resulting in McClish’s employment ending on Aug. 18, 2018, Jegley said.
McClish listened to the facts that Jegley recited and agreed they were true.
Baker released McClish on conditions until her sentencing, which will be scheduled after a pre-sentence report is prepared by federal probation officers. Baker said the conditions would include mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment if assessments determine either is needed. The conditions also require McClish to surrender her passport.
Alexander noted that McClish is currently working, but didn’t say where. Baker said that if McClish’s current job involves handling money, her employer must be informed about her crime, prompting Alexander to say that the employer is aware of the prosecution.
Jegley agreed that by remaining free and continuing to work, McClish will be better able to pay restitution, which is mandatory.
Restitution in the same amount of the theft will be payable to the bank, whose general counsel attended the plea hearing.