NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The jury finished deliberating the case against the Bank of the Commonwealth and reached a verdict Friday morning.
The jury found former CEO Edward Woodard, Jr. guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, false entry in a bank record, unlawful participation in a loan and false statement to a financial institution. His son Brandon was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and unlawful participation in a loan and had no comment for WAVY.com.
Stephen Fields was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, false entry in a bank record, false statement to a financial institution and misapplication of bank funds. Fields attorney, Sol Wisenberg, told WAVY.com, "We respect the jury system. We're disappointed. We have a very strong grounds of appeal and we're going to pursue those."
Borrower Dwight Etheridge was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, misapplication of bank funds and false statement to a financial institution. After his conviction, he said, "God is in control. God is in control."
Simon Hounslow was the only defendant found not guilty.
Prosecutors claimed the defendants turned the Bank of the Commonwealth into a criminal enterprise costing the bank $71 million.
"The brazen greed and dishonesty of these four defendants toppled one of Virginia's largest financial institutions and intensified the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on the public during the height of the fiscal storm," said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride. "[Friday's] verdict sends a clear message to top executives and insiders in the financial services industry that those entrusted with the health of our financial institutions will be held accountable when they violate that trust."
The Woodards argued those who already pled guilty were the criminals, referencing George Hranowskyj, Thomas Arney and others.
Andrew Sacks, gave his opinion about the verdict after his client Ed Woodard, the former bank president, remained silent. Sacks said "I think the jury had a hard time understand the complexities of this case If you understand the details and the nitty gritty and the complexities you will see there is no crime that was committed. There were a lot of things done that didn't look right, appeared improper, appeared inappropriate. That doesn't mean it was a crime."
The convicted defendants face up to 30 years in prison on each charge. They will be sentenced between Sept. 16 and Sept. 30.
Stay with WAVY.com for more on this developing story.
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