SAVANNAH — Seven former officers of First National Bank recently pled guilty for their roles in a massive loan-fraud scheme against the institution and other federally insured banks.
One of the seven was Jeffrey Allen Farrell, 45, the former city president of the Richmond Hill branch and a commercial loan officer of First National Bank.
He pleaded guilty Jan. 15 to a single count of false entries made in bank records.
His charge was part of a 47-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in January.
The seven other officer of First National Bank include:
• Heys Edward McMath III, 59, the former president and CEO of First National Bank, pleaded guilty on Nov. 12 to conspiring to defraud First National Bank and other federally-insured banks.
• Stephen Michael Little, 65, the former executive vice president and CFO of First National Bank, pleaded guilty on Jan. 15 to two counts of bank fraud.
• Robert Wilson Dailey, 52, the former city president and senior lending officer of First National Bank, pleaded guilty on Jan. 17 to two counts of bank fraud.
• Jay Patrick Gardner, 63, the former vice president of credit administration of First National Bank, pleaded guilty on Oct. 25 to a single count of bank fraud.
• Isaac Jefferson Mulling, 53, a former senior vice president and commercial loan officer of First National Bank, pleaded guilty on Jan. 16 to two counts of bank fraud.
• Alan Robert Fleming, 37, the former city president of the Tybee Island branch and a commercial loan officer of First National Bank, pleaded guilty on Jan. 21 to two counts of bank fraud.
“These defendants chose to hand out millions of dollars in fraudulent loans and to falsify numerous bank records, all in an effort to gamble with other people’s money and to hide the true condition of the bank that they ran,” U.S. Attorney Edward J. Tarver said. “Their fraudulent conduct put at risk the deposits of those who sought a safe place to keep their money, and ultimately caused a payout of losses by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).”
According to evidence presented during the guilty plea hearings, as First National Bank’s financial condition began to deteriorate, the defendants schemed to hide from the bank, members of the bank’s Board of Directors, and from federal regulators millions of dollars in non-performing loans.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the defendants accomplished their scheme by unlawfully loaning money to unqualified nominees to make interest and other payments on other non-performing loans; by enticing others to take over non-performing loans with hidden promises, side deals, and other terms unfavorable to First National Bank; and by recruiting other banks to fund non-performing loans based upon fraudulent misrepresentations about the quality of the loans.
To assist in their scheme, the defendants falsified and fabricated numerous bank documents and records.
First National Bank failed and was taken over by the FDIC on June 25, 2010. The FDIC estimates that First National’s failure will cost the Deposit Insurance Fund over $90 million.
The defendants will be sentenced after the U.S. Probation Office completes their presentence investigations.
All of the defendants remain on bond pending sentencing.