The former chief marketing officer of the failed Mirae Bank in Los Angeles was arrested following an eight-count indictment stemming from alleged loan fraud.
Ataollah Aminpour, 57, allegedly was responsible for the bank's issuing $150 million in fraudulent loans, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said in a news release Wednesday. He faces six counts of bank fraud and two counts of making false statements to a financial institution.
The case follows an investigation by SIGTARP, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s Office of Inspector General and the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Office of Inspector General.
The loans in question were made to people seeking to obtain financing for gas stations and carwashes. Aminpour himself directed the loan process, providing the bank's loan officers with falsified information, such as the purchase price or down payment of the business in question, SIGTARP said. He would also allegedly arrange the sale of businesses, but would overstate their price to the buyers, who obtained loans for the inflated amounts from Mirae.
He then purportedly skimmed those excess funds from the loans and also made millions of dollars in commissions. To cover up the fraud, he coordinated fake down payments or told borrowers to stop making payments before purchasing the distressed loan at a discount, authorities said.
In all, Aminpour did this for roughly 90 loans with principal exceeding $150 million. Authorities said the scheme contributed to Mirae Bank's failure and caused $33 million in losses for a Tarp recipient, Wilshire Bank, which acquired Mirae, and for the FDIC.
As a result, Wilshire Bank could not pay back all of the $62 million it received from Tarp and the Treasury Department recorded a $4 million loss.
"Mr. Aminpour allegedly orchestrated a scheme in which Mirae Bank funded loans based on applications that were rife with misstatements and false information," United States Attorney Eileen Decker said in the news release.
"Over the course of nearly four years, Mr. Aminpour was able to skim money from many of these loans, which allowed him to profit at the expense of the bank and taxpayers who had to bail out the failed financial institution," Deckersaid.
If convicted, Aminpour could serve up to 30 years in federal prison for each of the eight counts.