NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - A former Bank of the Commonwealth executive convicted in a scheme to commit massive bank fraud was sentenced in a U.S. District Court Monday.
49-year-old Stephen Fields, former Executive Vice President of BOC, was sentenced to 17 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, false entries in bank records, misapplication of bank funds and false statement to a financial institution, according to Lisa Fox with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Fields must also pay $331,860,955.43 to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and forfeit $61,625,789.79 that he made from the offense.
Fields is one of four former BOC executives and two others accused in the scheme. He along with former Chief Executive Officer Edward Woodard, former Executive Vice President Simon Hounslow, former Vice President and Mortgage Specialist Troy Woodard, Thomas Arney and Dwight Etheridge entered not guilty pleas on the following charges in May:
- One count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud
- Seven counts of false entry in a bank record
- Seven counts of false statement to a financial institution
- Four counts of unlawful participation in a loan
- Two counts of bank fraud
- Four counts of misapplication of bank funds
According to the grand jury, bank officials hid the bank’s true financial condition by overdrawing demand deposit accounts to make loan payments, using funds from related entities without authorization of the borrower to make loan payments, using change in terms agreements to make loans appear current and extending new loans or additional principal on existing loans.
The bank then allegedly provided preferential financing to troubled borrowers in order to buy property owned by the bank. The indictment said those borrowers already had trouble making loan payments.
The indictment further details exactly how the six defendants conspired to commit bank fraud and can be found by clicking here.
“Today, those responsible for the corruption leading to one of the biggest bank failures in Virginia history impacting our Hampton Roads community were held accountable,” said FBI Special Agent In Charge Royce E. Curtin in a press release Monday. “The extensive two year investigation led by FBI Norfolk Division, in conjunction with IRS, SIGTARP, FDIC-OIG, and IG-FRB, identified and unraveled a criminal enterprise conducting complex fraudulent financial transactions. This case reflects the FBI and its partners' commitment to protect our communities by aggressively investigating and bringing to justice individuals exploiting their influence or position for personal gain.”
“The culture among senior executives at TARP applicant Bank of the Commonwealth was rotten at its core, and Fields was a principal contributor to the stench of corruption and entitlement at the bank,” said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP) in a press release Monday. “As a former bank examiner, Fields should have stopped and blown the whistle, but instead, he engaged in an extend and pretend scheme to mask past-due loans, rigged auctions to get foreclosed property off of the bank’s books, and lied to bank examiners. Let today’s sentencing serve as a warning to anyone engaged in fraud involving TARP – SIGTARP and its law enforcement partners will bring justice and hold you accountable for your crimes.”
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