WASHINGTON — Two Florida bank executives and one bank borrower were sentenced to federal prison Tuesday and ordered to pay nearly $100 million for attempting to defraud the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The former executives at Orion Bank in Naples, Fla., lied to regulators and falsified the bank’s books and records over a period of seven months to make it appear that nonperforming loans were performing, and that the bank was receiving a legitimate capital infusion, according to a press release from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Tarp. The bank was denied the Tarp funds, and was closed by state regulators on Nov. 13, 2009.
“They lied to regulators that the bank’s capital had improved, attempted to get $64 million in TARP funds to fill the hole that turned out to be fraud, and drove the bank into the ground,” Christy Romero, the acting SIGTARP, said in the release. “Fraudsters who tried to profit from Tarp bailout during the financial crisis will meet swift justice by SIGTARP and its law enforcement partners.”
The executives also closed on loans to a bank borrower, including a $26.5 million line of credit, which the borrower used to purchase Orion stock, even though it was illegal to finance the purchase of the bank’s own stock. They closed on the loans even after they discovered the borrower had fraudulent financial documents, according to a press release.
A Florida judge sentenced Thomas Hebble, a former executive vice president, to 2 ½ years in federal prison, and Angel Guerzon, a former senior vice president, to 2 years in federal prison. Francesco Mileto, the bank borrower, was sentenced to 5 ½ years in federal prison.
Mileto was ordered to pay $65 million in restitution to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The FDIC requested $33 million from Hebble and Guerzon; a hearing will be held to apportion liability among the defendants.