An ailing Ohio banking company said it turned its first quarterly profit in more than a year, and has recovered $2.1 million from a defunct homebuilder, which allegedly defrauded the bank of millions more.

Belmont Bancorp of St. Clairsville reported first-quarter net income of $60,000, or 1 cent per share, compared with a loss of $2.6 million during the same period a year earlier. Belmont, with $287 million of assets, had not shown a profit since the fourth quarter of 1998, when the company earned $1.5 million.

The company, which a year ago reported assets of $424 million, has been writing off and selling loans in an effort to improve its capital ratios. As part of that effort, it also issued $4 million of stock in April.

Belmont started the restructuring last year after discovering what it calls an embezzlement scheme that cost the bank $20 million. Belmont is suing its former chief operating officer, William Wallace, and Schwartz Homes Inc. of New Philadelphia, Ohio, over the alleged fraud. Belmont said the $2.1 million it recovered from Schwartz, which went out of business in April, is related to the builder's bankruptcy proceedings.

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