PHILADELPHIA - An accountant, a lawyer, and a tax-shelter packager agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle allegations that they participated in filing false statements with two federally insured thrifts.
The case is significant not only for the size of the civil penalties but also because professional advisers were charged as individuals, not corporate entities, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Carroll.
"It puts professionals on notice that if they assist anyone in violating federal banking statutes, they will face swift and firm Justice," he said.
The thrifts were Ohio Valley Savings and Loan Association, Steubenville, and Skokie Federal Savings and Loan Association in Illinois. Skokie Federal was later declared insolvent, and Ohio Valley was sold under regulatory supervision.
The three men are Stephen M. Mullins, the tax-shelter packager; accountant Paul A. Brown, and attorney Jeffrey C. Rubenstein, all of Illinois.
The settlement included no admission of guilt, and the three officially denied the allegations in the settlement agreement, the Justice Department said.
A 1991 civil complaint alleged that Mr. Mullins and Mr. Brown conspired with other general partners in TM Carlton House Partners Ltd. to make false statements in obtaining credit from the thrifts.
The money was to be used to buy and renovate a high-rise office building in Philadelphia.
The general partnership was placed in bankruptcy by its creditors in 1988, after it defaulted on its debts to Skokie Federal and other institutions.