News and Press Releases

Andalusia Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Bribery Charges

Second Guilty Plea in Investigation of Kickbacks to Bank Employee

September 30, 2011

Montgomery, Alabama - Harry Courson, age 66, of Andalusia, Alabama, entered a guilty plea today to a one-count felony information charging him with conspiracy to pay bribes to an employee of the Peoples Bank of Coffee County (“Peoples”), Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart, announced today.

Today’s guilty plea is the latest development in the Government’s continuing investigation. On June 2, 2011, John Tomberlin, age 40, also of Andalusia, was charged in a one-count felony information with unlawfully participating in the proceeds of loans from Peoples. The information was transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and, on August 15, 2011, Tomberlin pled guilty both to the information and to several counts of an indictment pending in that court. Tomberlin’s sentencing is scheduled for November 22, 2011 in Philadelphia before United States District Judge Paul S. Diamond.

According to court records, in February 2007, an employee of Peoples (“Employee”) caused Peoples to fund a loan in the amount of $316,368.60, which financed the purchase for Courson’s benefit of 80 acres of land in Greenville, Alabama (the “Greenville Property”). Prior to the closing of the transaction, Courson agreed with Tomberlin and with Employee that Tomberlin and Employee would each receive ⅓ of the profits from the sale of the Greenville Property. On or about October 12, 2007, Courson caused the Greenville Property to be sold to a buyer for a profit of approximately $54,000. That same date, Employee caused Peoples to loan the buyer approximately $399,852.85 to finance the purchase. On or about October 26, 2007, Courson caused $18,000 to be paid to an Entity controlled by Employee. At or about the same time, Courson caused $18,000 to be paid to Tomberlin.

In addition to the Greenville Property transaction, on or about September 13, 2007, Courson paid Employee by leaving $10,000 in cash under the seat of Employee’s pickup truck.

On November 20, 2007, Employee caused Peoples to loan $395,000 to an individual associated with Tomberlin to finance the purchase of land in Andalusia. As payment for Employee having made the loan, on November 23, 2007, Tomberlin caused an entity he controlled to pay Employee $50,000.

Both Tomberlin and Courson are free on bail pending sentencing.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Office of Inspector General and by the United States Secret Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew O. Schiff.


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