News and Press Releases

BANK OFFICER SENTENCED TO 36 MONTHS IN $12 MILLION BANK FRAUD SCHEME

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, and Anthony V. Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, and Miguel Exposito, Chief, City of Miami Police Department, announced that Richard Garcia, a former loan officer at Wachovia Bank was sentenced by Judge Paul C. Huck to 36 months’ imprisonment, followed by 30 months home confinement for his participation in a $12 million bank fraud conspiracy. Garcia was also ordered to pay $10 million in restitution.

According to the indictment, from approximately November 2005 through March 2008, Garcia,29, of Miami, participated in a conspiracy in which false loan applications were submitted to Wells Fargo Bank (formerly known as Wachovia Bank) in order to obtain approximately $12 million in commercial lines of credit.

The fraudulent loan applications contained false information about the borrower’s business income, assets, and accounts receivable. They also included false tax returns, bank statements, and personal financial statements in connection with the line of credit applications. Garcia assisted in processing these fraudulent loans on behalf of the borrowers.

As compensation for the false loan applications that were submitted to Wachovia Bank, the borrowers paid a fee of approximately 10% of the loan amount, a portion of which was given to Garcia as compensation for his assistance in preparing and processing the fraudulent applications. The fraud scheme has resulted in approximately $10 million in losses to the bank.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Miami, U.S. Secret Service, and the City of Miami Police Department. The case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew K. Levi and Richard Gregorie.

This law enforcement action is sponsored by President Barack Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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