Former bank CEO accepts plea agreement, pleads guilty

Earlier this year, the former Chief Executive Officer of Georgia’s FirstCity bank was arrested. The day after his arrest, the indictment against him was unsealed. The ex-CEO was accused acquiring loans from his own bank and other banks under false pretenses.

According to an article from Bloomberg News, this bank fraud resulted in the ex-CEO’s bank being deceived into lending him millions of dollars. Now, the former bank executive has pled guilty to bank fraud and perjury in an Atlanta Federal Court.

Assuming that the federal District Judge approves the plea deal, the man faces a potential sentence of 12 years in prison. He would also be forced to forfeit $7 million. The court set the sentencing hearing for January.

The executive had allegedly used false credit memos in order conceal his identity and obtain the loan from his bank. He also allegedly lied about the terms and purpose of the loan. The charges against him allege that he and his co-conspirators then submitted to records to other banks that were involved in the loans.

In some instances, the best course of action for a white-collar criminal defendant is to make the government prove its case at trial. If the evidence does not support the prosecution’s allegations, they will fail to meet their burden. In other situations, it makes sense to consider the possibility of mitigating a negative outcome by negotiating a plea deal. This is an important and difficult decision. If you decide to explore a plea deal, the negotiations and bargaining involved can be as intricate and detailed as a trial. It is important to consult with experienced counsel who specializes in plea bargaining.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “Ex-FirstCity Chief Conner Pleads Guilty to Bilking Bank,” David Beasley and Laurence Viele Davidson, Oct. 21, 2011