States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|May 24, 2011||
FORMER F&S OIL COMPANY PRESIDENT ADMITS DEFRAUDING CITIZENS BANK
The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced that CHRISTOPHER T. CARR, 55, of Fairfield, pleaded guilty today before Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello in Hartford to one count of bank fraud stemming from a scheme to defraud Citizens Bank of millions of dollars.
According to court documents and statements made in court, CARR was the president of F&S Oil Company Inc. (“F&S Oil”), which was in the business of providing heating oil to residential and commercial customers in the Waterbury area. As primarily a seasonal business with fluctuating cash flow, with growing cash deposits when prepaid contracts were purchased by customers and declining cash flow as inventory was purchased and delivered, F&S Oil needed access to a banking line of credit to conduct its business on an ongoing basis. As a result, F&S Oil had a banking relationship with Citizens Bank, which included three outstanding lines of credit or loans secured by the assets, inventory and receivables of F&S Oil. Citizens Bank would routinely extend funds to F&S Oil under the existing line of credit based, in part, on information provided by F&S Oil in periodic submissions of borrowing base certificates to Citizens Bank. The borrowing base certificates would itemize F&S Oil’s total gross accounts receivable and would include a listing of the aging of the receivables and a total fuel inventory.
In 2007, F&S Oil sought to construct a local biodiesel plant that, once completed, was projected to be able to produce heating oil with significantly better operating margins than that provided by simply purchasing heating oil from third parties. F&S Oil funded the construction primarily through its line of credit with Citizens Bank, as well as monies obtained by the prepayment of oil contracts by residential and commercial customers. During 2007 and early 2008, the biodiesel project ran into unanticipated construction and permitting problems that delayed its completion and significantly increased the cost of construction.
In pleading guilty today, CARR admitted that, as the biodiesel plant’s construction costs mounted, he defrauded Citizens Bank into further extending monies under the line of credit by repeatedly falsifying the borrowing base certificates provided to Citizens Bank by overstating F&S Oil’s accounts receivable and inventory. As a result, the government contends that CARR caused losses of between $2.5 million and $7 million to the bank.
Judge Covello has scheduled sentencing for September 7, 2011, at which time CARR faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a fine of up to $9 million.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.
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