Four former executives of Wilmington Trust were found guilty Thursday of criminal conspiracy and other charges from their involvement in a loan fraud scheme nearly a decade ago, according to media reports.
A federal jury in Delaware returned the verdicts on Thursday, after a six-week trial, against Robert Harra, the former president of the bank; David Gibson, the then chief financial officer; William North, former chief credit officer; and ex-controller Kevyn Rakowski, the Wilmington News-Journal reported.
Each defendant was found guilty on all charges, according to the jury verdict. The charges included making false certifications in financial reports, making false statements to the Federal Reserve, making false entries in banking records, securities fraud and conspiracy to defraud the federal government. All four defendants had pleaded not guilty.
U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews ruled that sentencing would occur no sooner than four months from now. The judge allowed the defendants to remain free on bail.
The executives and the company were accused of intentionally understating the value of past-due real estate loans in 2009 and 2010. Harra and the other executives were said to have conspired to deceive federal regulators who were examining Wilmington Trust’s loan book a year before it was sold to M&T Bank in Buffalo, N.Y., in 2011 for $351 million.
An M&T Bank spokesman declined to comment about the verdict when contacted by American Banker.
Attorneys for Harra said their client is innocent and that he will appeal.
"We are stunned by the jury’s decision in this case," the five-person legal team said in a news release. "The simple fact is that our client is an honorable man who never in his life thought about committing a crime."
Harra was represented by the law firm McCarter & English and by the New York attorney Andrew Lawler.
M&T last year reached a $60 million settlement agreement with federal prosecutors over the fraud case. As part of the agreement, prosecutors dropped charges against the bank but retained the charges filed against the executives.