A former loan officer at Colorado East Bank & Trust in Lamar, Colo., has admitted to his role in a $1.2 million fraud scheme.
Christopher Tumbaga, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of receiving illegal kickbacks in exchange for making loans, according to a Thursday press release from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. He entered his plea at a federal court in Denver. The Inspector General is involved in the case because Tumbaga's former employer, Colorado East, is a Tarp recipient.
Tumbaga allegedly used his position as a loan officer at the $776 million-asset Colorado East to help his high school friend and co-defendant Brian Headle finance his real estate development business with fraudulently obtained credit. Prosecutors say that between March 2009 and July 2011, Tumbaga secured a $250,000 line of credit for Headle based on false information along with more than 14 loans opened under multiple names. In return, Tumbaga purportedly received more than $60,000 in kickbacks.
"In order to get bank funds into Headle's hands, Tumbaga submitted loan documents with falsified information, including fake financial statements and documents identifying loan recipients as Headle's relatives, as a way to qualify the loans and skirt bank lending limits to single individuals," Inspector General Christy Romero said in the release.
Tumbaga's misdeeds also allegedly include forging the bank president's signature in order to approve a loan and withdrawing $100,000 from a bank customer's line of credit so that Headle could pay down his bank debts, according to the release.
Tumbaga's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 30. He faces up to 30 years in federal prison for each of the two counts.
Headle was charged with seven counts of bank fraud and 11 counts of bribing a bank official. His trial is scheduled for Sept. 15, according to the release. All charges against Headle have yet to be proven.