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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Brentwood Businessman Sentenced To Twenty-Four Months In Prison For Bank Fraud

B Joseph D. Wheliss, Jr., 44, of Brentwood, Tennessee, former owner and operator of National Embroidery Works, Inc., was sentenced on October 25, 2013, by Chief United States District Court Judge William J. Haynes, Jr. to twenty-four months in prison, to be followed by a five year term of supervised release and an additional seventeen months in a halfway house, announced David Rivera, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. Wheliss was also ordered to pay approximately $1.9 million in restitution to Pinnacle National Bank and $2.85 million in restitution to Cincinnati Insurance Company.  

Wheliss pleaded guilty on October 5, 2012, to a single count of bank fraud, arising from a fraudulent loan scheme. Between May 2005 and January 2011, Wheliss sought and received multiple loans from Pinnacle National Bank totaling more than $4 million. The majority of the loans were commercial loans to Wheliss' business, National Embroidery Works, Inc. To collateralize each of these loans, Wheliss pledged his purported interest in a trust fund which he knew was non-existent.

During the five year period of the scheme, Wheliss regularly presented forged documents to Pinnacle National Bank purporting to show the balance of the fictitious trust fund growing from approximately $2.7million to over $19 million. As a result of this fraudulent scheme, Wheliss obtained over $4.7 million in loans from Pinnacle National Bank, which he used to fund his living expenses and lavish lifestyle.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra G. Moses.

Updated March 19, 2015