First National Bank fraud case moves forward in federal court

Three-plus years ago, in January 2010, the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency stepped in to close the First National Bank (FNB) of Georgia in Carrollton after investigation into alleged acts of bank fraud committed there by bank officials. Several months later, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was named Receiver and took over the bank, which was subsequently sold to the Savannah Bank.

First National was the first bank in the Savannah region to fail, and FDIC officials say that its demise cost federal taxpayers more than $90 million.

Several years of investigation following the receivership and sale resulted recently in indictments being issued against the ex-president of FNB and six former high-ranking officers. Federal prosecutors allege that the group engaged in a number of fraudulent activities prior to the bank’s collapse that defrauded investors and expedited it failure.

The defendants made an initial appearance and entered pleas late last month before a U.S. magistrate, who noted the complexity of the case and the charges against the former officers. Their attorneys will be allowed 90 days to prepare pre-trial motions, with a 10-day period being the customary time allowed by that magistrate.

The charges against the group are many, with the indictment alleging 35 counts of criminal activity. The charges include conspiracy, bank fraud, misapplication of bank funds, false entries made in bank records and false statements to influence a bank.

The indictment further states that bank managers falsified documents that were examined by federal investigators in 2009, prior to the takeover of FNB.

Source: Savannah Morning News, “Seven former First National Bank officials plead not guilty in bank fraud case,” Jan Skutch, Feb. 1, 2013

  • Criminal charges alleging bank fraud, mortgage fraud, insurance fraud and other types of fraudulent business activity often relate to matters that are both complex and disputed. In such matters, alleged wrongdoers have a strong need for a knowledgeable and aggressive defense attorney to tell their side of the story and fully protect their legal interests. Our firm is proud to provide that service, and has a proven and long-tenured record of doing so. For more information, please visit our Atlanta, Georgia, Bank Fraud page.