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United States v. James A. Laphen

Closed Criminal Division Cases

United States v. James A. Laphen
Court Docket Number: 4:14-cr-03133-JMG-CRZ (D. of Nebraska)

Court Assigned: This case is assigned to Judge John M. Gerrard, U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, Robert V. Denney Federal Building, 100 Centennial Mall North, Lincoln, NE 68508.

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Criminal Charges: On December 8, 2014, James A. Laphen, the former president and chief operating officer of TierOne Bank, pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, securities fraud, and making false bank entries (Count 1: 18 U.S.C. § 371), and one substantive count of making a false statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission (Count 2: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 and 2).

According to court documents, Laphen and others concealed the true value of TierOne’s loan and real estate portfolio and provided falsely inflated figures in its required reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS). Specifically, Laphen admitted that he used outdated property appraisals and rejected new appraisals that would have required TierOne to mark down the value of its real estate holdings. In addition, Laphen admitted that he and others delayed seeking new appraisals to conceal the depreciating value of its loan collateral, and restructured loan terms to disguise the borrowers’ inability to make timely interest and principal payments. As a result, Laphen admitted that he and others were able to hide millions of dollars in losses from regulators and investors.

For more information about the charges, please see below:
Plea Agreement

The information on this website will be updated as new developments arise in the case. If you have any questions, please call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at

Related cases: United States v. Don A. Langford; United States v. Gilbert G. Lundstrom

Presumption of Innocence: It is important to keep in mind that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that presumption requires both the court and our office to take certain steps to ensure that justice is served.

Crime Victims’ Rights Act and Right to Retain Counsel: The Crime Victims’ Rights Act (18 U.S.C. § 3771) applies only to victims of the counts charged in federal court, and thus individuals may not be able to exercise all of these rights if the crime of which the individual is a victim was not charged. Section 377I(c)(2) of this Act requires that we advise you that you have the right to retain counsel. Although the statute specifically sets forth your right to seek advice of an attorney with regard to your rights under the statute, there is no requirement that you retain counsel. The Government may not recommend any specific counsel, nor can the Government (or the Court) pay for counsel to represent you. Government attorneys represent the United States.

If you elect to obtain counsel to represent your interests, please have your attorney notify this office in writing at: U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, 10th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Bond Building, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20530, Attention: Victim Witness Unit; fax: (202) 514-3708; or email: If you elect not to retain counsel to represent your interests, you do not need to do anything.

Plea Agreements: Please be aware that many criminal cases are resolved by plea agreement between the Department of Justice and the defendant. You should also know that it is not unusual for a defendant to seek to negotiate a plea agreement shortly before trial is scheduled to begin. Plea agreements can be made at any time and as late as the morning of trial, leaving little or no opportunity to provide notice to you of the date and time of the plea hearing. If the court schedules a plea hearing in this case, we will use our best efforts to notify you of available information as soon as practicable. If you want to inform the prosecutor of your views regarding potential plea agreements, or any other aspect of the case, please contact the prosecutor assigned to this case or call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at

Updated September 27, 2023