A group of banks and other companies last week sued a former Philip Morris Cos. worker who pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges in 1996 and his alleged accomplices for $100 million.

First Union Corp., CoreStates Financial Corp., NationsBank NA, Bank of Montreal, and other companies alleged in a suit filed in U.S. District Court in New York that Edward Reiners and others cheated them out of more than $320 million. The banks are suing for $100 million that they say has yet to be recovered.

The banks allege that Mr. Reiners and his co-conspirators, including several individuals and some companies listed as computer-services companies, tricked the banks into lending them money to finance what Mr. Reiners said was a secret research project for the tobacco company

The project never existed, and Mr. Reiners had already left the tobacco company when the ring received the money, the suit said.

Mr. Reiners pleaded guilty in July 1996 in federal court in Richmond, Va., to bank fraud and money-laundering charges in connection with the scheme. A co-defendant, John Ruffo, is awaiting trial on fraud charges, the banks' suit said.

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