Archives For Alabama

Anthony J. Atkins, 51, Eufaula, Alabama, was sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.4 million in restitution for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, four counts of false statements to a federally insured financial institution, bank fraud, and mail fraud affecting a financial institution. Atkins was convicted by a jury on March 10, 2017.

In 2007, an individual went to Anthony J. Atkins, the president of GulfSouth Private Bank, and notified Atkins that the individual’s company, which had been loaned $3.4 million, was no longer able to make payments on the mortgage loans issued by GulfSouth Private Bank that had been secured by three condominiums. To conceal that the $3.4 million in loans were going into default, Atkins devised a scheme to conceal the bad debt. 

As a part of the scheme, Atkins and Samuel D. Cobb, who was a vice president at GulfSouth, solicited Bruce A. Houle, Mark W. Shoemaker, Michael Bradley Bowen, and William Blake Cody to take out new loans with the bank to purchase the three condominiums. To persuade Houle, Shoemaker, Bowen, and Cody to engage in the scheme, Atkins and Cobb told these individuals that the loans would be non-recourse, meaning that, if the men defaulted, GulfSouth would have no recourse against them.

Thereafter, Atkins and Cobb caused new mortgage loans and additional lines of credit to be issued for approximately $3.8 million to the men they had solicited. According to the terms of the fraudulent loans issued during the scheme, the men Atkins and Cobb solicited were not required to make any payments on the loans until the loans came due months down the road. These new loans were then used to pay off the old loans that were going into default. Issuing these new loans and new lines of credit created the appearance that the debt was “performing,” which allowed Atkins to avoid having to report the loans associated with the condominiums as bad debt. Further, as a part of the scheme, Atkins and Cobb caused fraudulent security agreements to be prepared that falsely represented that Houle, Shoemaker, Bowen, and Cody were obligated to repay their respective new mortgage loans and lines of credit.<

In September 2009, GulfSouth received $7.5 million in Troubled Asset Relief Program funds from the United States Treasury. Thereafter, Atkins and Cobb allowed the condominiums that were collateral for the mortgage loans to be sold in short sales, resulting in a loss to GulfSouth. Further, Atkins allowed the deficiencies and the lines of credit to be charged off of GulfSouth’s books and records.

The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. The case resulted from a joint investigation by the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG).

Today, a federal court sentenced to prison a bank president along with the bank’s vice president, who were investigated and arrested by SIGTARP,” said Special Inspector General Christy Goldsmith Romero (SIGTARP). “Taxpayers lost $7.5 million in TARP dollars invested in Gulfsouth Private Bank – a bank that failed after being led by the top two officers committing bank fraud. Bank president Tony Atkins brought in friends and family as co-conspirators in this conspiracy to make troubled loans appear current. Each of those co-conspirators have been convicted. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida for unwavering dedication, including Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany Eggers who was committed to seeking justice.”

This bank fraud case is a reminder that my office will vigorously prosecute those who do not conduct ethical transactions, especially financial representatives who abuse their positions of trust,” said U.S. Attorney Canova. “I commend the hard work of the investigators and prosecutors who enforce our federal laws and ensure that justice is served.”

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General is committed to its partnerships with others in the law enforcement community as we address bank fraud cases throughout the country. The American people need to be assured that we are working to ensure integrity in the financial services industries and that those involved in criminal activities that undermine that integrity will be held accountable.” said Jason Moran, Special Agent in Charge, FDIC-OIG.

Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers prosecuted the case.

Michael P. Barbour, a southern Alabama business man pled guilty for his role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in southern Alabama.  Barbour admitted to conspiring to fraudulently acquire title to foreclosed properties at artificially low prices by agreeing with others not to bid against each other at public foreclosure auctions in southern Alabama.

According to documents filed with the court, from 2003 until 2010, Barbour conspired with other potential bidders for foreclosed properties to designate one person to bid at certain public foreclosure auctions.  Once the designated bidder won the property at the public auction, the conspirators held a secret, second auction open only to members of the conspiracy where they paid each other off.  As a result of these crimes, homeowners and banks received less than competitive prices for the properties.  Continue Reading…

Chad E. Foster, Theodore, Alabama, a real estate investor, pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud related to public real estate foreclosure auctions held in southern Alabama.

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Charlette Henderson, 42, and her son Lanikein Henderson, 25, both of Brandon, Mississippi, have been sentenced in Mobile County, Alabama, for residential mortgage fraud. Charlette received a 48 month suspended sentence, while her son received a 24 month suspended sentence. Each was ordered to pay $2,093.37 to AFC Mortgage, court costs, and $100 to Alabama Victims Crime Fund.

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Christopher Shawn Linton, 35, Alabaster, Alabama, was sentenced to five years and 11 months in prison for his role in an investment fraud scheme through which he submitted a fraudulent loan application to Iberia Bank for a $908,650 loan, and took more than $2.8 million from 12 investors spending the funds on a lavish home, private jets, championship football trips and island vacations.

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Chad E. Foster, Theodore, Alabama, a former real estate investor, has been indicted and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud as part of a scheme related to public real estate foreclosure auctions held in southern Alabama.

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Paul Hulse, Sr. was sentenced on November 27, 2013, by United States District Court Judge Myron S. Thompson, to the statutory maximum of 10 years imprisonment followed by three years supervised release for interstate transportation of property by fraud. Judge Thompson also sentenced Frank J. Teers to 8 years imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit wire and financial institution fraud, and committing wire fraud and financial institution fraud.

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Danny Ray Butler, 57, Fosters, Alabama, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple fraud and false statement charges connected to schemes to defraud financial institutions.

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Ali Forouzan, Mobile, Alabama, a former investor in the Alabama real estate foreclosure auctions industry, pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements.

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Robert M. Brannon, Laurel, Mississippi, and his son, Jason R. Brannon, Mobile, Alabama, both real estate investors, were sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile, for their participation in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in southern Alabama.

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