Two Plead Guilty to Federal Wire Fraud Connected to Scheme to Defraud The Department of Veteran Affairs
NEW ORLEANS – The United States Attorney’s Office announced that WARREN G. TREME (“TREME”), age 55, a resident of Metairie, Louisiana, was charged July 8, 2020 with conspiracy to defraud First NBC Bank, the New Orleans-based bank that failed in April 2017.
According to the Bill of Information, from in or around 2008 through April 2017, TREME had a banking relationship with First NBC Bank, individually and through various entities he controlled. TREME also co-owned several entities with Bank President A. Because of this conflict of interest, Bank President A should not have been involved with TREME’s loans. However, Bank President A exercised authority over TREME’s loans with Bank Officer B. Throughout his borrowing relationship at First NBC Bank, TREME lacked sufficient income and cash flow from his businesses to pay his loans and personal expenses. Bank President A and Bank Officer B disguised TREME’s true financial condition by making new loans to pay TREME’s existing loans.
The Bill of Information further describes a scheme by Bank President A and Bank Officer B to take $400,000 from TREME’s business partners as part of a settlement. Rather than using the $400,000 to pay down an outstanding loan debt owed by TREME and his business partners, Bank President A and Bank Officer B gave $300,000 to TREME. TREME spent the money on gambling, a trip to the Caribbean, and expenses related to a real estate development company TREME co-owned with Bank President A. During a subsequent Board meeting, Bank President A and Bank Officer B falsely stated that the $300,000 was used to pay down the outstanding loan debt owed by TREME and his business partners.
TREME is charged in the Bill of Information with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 1349. The maximum penalties that may be imposed upon conviction are thirty years in prison; a fine of $1,000,000, or the greater of twice the gain to TREME or twice the loss to any victim; up to five years of supervised release; and a $100 mandatory special assessment.
The United States Attorney’s Office stated that a Bill of Information is merely an accusation and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General; and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sharan E. Lieberman, Nicholas D. Moses, Matthew R. Payne, and J. Ryan McLaren are in charge of the prosecution.
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