William R. “Rusty” Beamon, Jr., 52, DeKalb County, Georgia, a former bank employee, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on February 26, 2013, on charges arising out of a scheme to defraud his former employer Appalachian Community Bank (also known as Gilmer County Bank). Beamon will be arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge J. Clay Fuller in Gainesville, Georgia.
According to the indictment, and other information presented in court, Beamon was Vice President of Appalachian Community Bank, which had its headquarters in Ellijay, Georgia. He was responsible for Appalachian’s foreclosure liquidation department.
In 2009, Beamon told a real estate agent that he personally owned a house in Cumming, Georgia, and then hired that agent to market and lease the property on his behalf. The property, however, was owned by Appalachian Community Bank and was part of the bank’s foreclosure inventory. The real estate agent found someone to lease the property and negotiated a lease on Beamon‘s behalf. Beamon then deposited into his personal bank account more than $20,000 in rent payments and security deposits from the illegal lease.
Beamon also allowed Appalachian Community Bank to make loans to his wife, and to a shell company that he owned, to finance fraudulent real estate purchases of properties in the bank’s foreclosure inventory. Each property was sold at a price substantially below fair market value.
Due to its poor financial condition, Appalachian Community Bank was forced to close on March 19, 2010, and the FDIC was appointed as receiver.
Beamon is not the first insider at Appalachian Community Bank to face federal criminal charges arising out of his employment at the bank. Adam Teague, 38, Ellijay, Georgia, was charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and pleaded guilty to that offense on August 23, 2012. Teague, who was Senior Vice President of Appalachian, is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Richard W. Story on April 5, 2013. Teague faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
Both cases are being investigated by Special Agents of the FBI and the FDIC Office of Inspector General. The Teague case is also being investigated by Special Agents of the Department of Treasury, Special Inspector General Troubled Asset Relief Program, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General.
The indictment charges six counts of bank fraud. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates announced the indictment.
“The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General is pleased to join our law enforcement colleagues in announcing this indictment,” said Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General, FDIC. “We are particularly concerned when officers of a bank abuse their positions of trust and jeopardize the viability of their banks. We will continue to pursue such offenders in the interest of maintaining the safety and soundness of our nation’s banks and protecting the Deposit Insurance Fund.”
Assistant United States Attorney Russell Phillips is prosecuting both cases.
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The lack of responsible, ethical leadership at Appalachian Community Bank eventually led to that bank’s failure. The FBI understands the harm caused by such criminal behavior of bank employees or their executives and asks that anyone with information on such activity to contact their nearest FBI field office.”
“Bank fraud is a critical problem throughout the United States, but it has hit Georgia especially hard,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Georgia leads the nation in bank failures since 2008, with 78 banks failing – including Appalachian Community Bank, the bank this defendant is accused of defrauding. Prosecuting bank fraud continues to be one of the major priorities of our office and the United States Department of Justice,” she said.