A former senior commercial loan officer at the failed Bank of the Commonwealth in Norfolk, Va., has been sentenced to 17 years in federal prison for hiding bad loans from regulators.
Stephen Fields was also ordered on Monday to pay roughly $332 million in restitution. He was sentenced for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, making false entries in bank records, misapplying bank funds, and giving a false statement to a financial institution, according to a press release from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
In May, a federal jury convicted Fields, two other former Bank of the Commonwealth executives, and a former real estate developer for masking past-due loans by overdrawing demand deposit accounts and making loan payments with income from other assets.
"The culture among senior executives at Tarp applicant Bank of the Commonwealth was rotten at its core, and Fields, as executive vice president and senior commercial loan officer, was a principal contributor to the stench of corruption and entitlement at the bank," Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for Tarp, said in the release. "As a former bank examiner, Fields should have stopped and blown the whistle, but instead, he engaged in an extend and pretend scheme to mask past-due loans, rigged auctions to get foreclosed property off of the bank's books, and lied to bank examiners."
Field's actions directly contributed to the $985 million-asset company's collapse in September 2011, according to acting U.S. attorney Kathleen Kahoe. The bank failure cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. at least $333 million.
Fields was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson in the Eastern District of Virginia court.
Co-defendant Dwight Etheridge, a former real estate developer, is set for sentencing this week. Former Chief Executive Edward Woodward and his son, Troy, who was a mortgage loan specialist at one of the company's subsidiaries, also await sentencing. Jeremy Churchill, Fields' former loan assistant, pled guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud and is set to be sentenced on Nov. 1.