NEW YORK — The former president of a small business bank in New York closed by regulators on Friday has been arrested and charged with engaging in a variety of schemes to defraud the bank and its regulators, including the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed Monday, Charles J. Antonucci Sr., the former president and chief executive of The Park Avenue Bank in New York, has been charged with fraud on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., making false statements on a Tarp application, mail fraud, bank fraud, bank bribery, making a counterfeit certificate of deposit, wire fraud and embezzlement.
He was taken into custody on Monday and is expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge in Manhattan later Monday.
Charles Stillman, a lawyer for Antonucci, declined comment Monday, saying he had just seen the complaint.
Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, and Neil Barofsky, special inspector general for Tarp, are expected to discuss the arrest at a press conference at 1 p.m. EDT Monday.
The allegations are one of the first publicly announced cases of fraud against Tarp, the bank bailout program passed as the nation teetered on the verge of an economic meltdown in 2008.
The bank itself was closed by New York state banking regulators on Friday and its branches were expected to reopen Monday as branches of Valley National Bank.
It had total assets of $520.1 million and total deposits of $494.5 million as of the end of 2009, the FDIC said.
Prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan alleged the Antonucci engaged in several schemes to defraud the bank and its regulators, including engaging in self-dealing and obtaining illicit payments and benefits from bank customers — sometimes in exchange for inappropriate extensions of credit loans or loans to customers.
In one case, Antonucci engaged in a sham "round-trip" transactions designed to make it appear to bank regulators that he had invested about $6.5 million in the bank to improve its capital structure, but actually just took funds from the bank itself, prosecutors said.
Antonucci also allegedly made false statements and committed mail fraud in connection with an application by the bank for more than $11 million in Tarp funds in 2008, using his purported $6.5 million investment as part of the basis for the application.
The FDIC advised Antonucci in February 2009, as the bank's financial condition continued to deteriorate, that it would not recommend the Tarp application for approval and the bank withdrew its application.
Antonucci also allegedly arranged for the bank to lease space from three properties he owned in Fishkill, N.Y., prosecutors said. The bank only used one of the properties, despite paying rent and expenses on all three, prosecutors said.
Antonucci was president and chief executive of the bank from June 2004 until his resignation in October 2009. His annual salary was about $250,000 a year.
The Park Avenue Bank of New York isn't affiliated with Park Avenue Bank in Georgia.