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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Former AgGeorgia Loan Officer Sentenced for Committing Fraud

MACON, Ga. – A former loan officer convicted of defrauding two agriculture-based financial institutions was sentenced to prison for his crime.

William Spigener, III, 33, of Columbus, was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Marc T. Treadwell after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud a financial institution. In addition, Spigener was ordered to pay $474,148.02 to AgGeorgia Farm Credit and $174,489.42 to AgSouth Farm Credit in restitution. Co-defendants Johnnie Farrow, 66, Eary Fuller, 57, and Demetria Bell, 50, all of Macon, were also convicted of conspiracy to defraud a financial institution in this case and are awaiting sentencing. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Our office will do everything within our power to hold fraudsters whose schemes cripple our local businesses, their employees and our citizens accountable for their crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “The negative impact of white-collar fraud is far-reaching and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, working with our law enforcement partners, will seek justice for victims.”

“No matter how elaborate or complicated the fraud scheme, the FBI will work to uncover it to protect American citizens and businesses from further damages,” said Philip Wislar, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Spigener will now be held accountable for the damage his greed caused, sending a strong message to anyone considering such fraud that it is a serious crime with serious consequences.”

According to court documents, Spigener orchestrated a scheme to defraud AgSouth Farm Credit and AgGeorgia Farm Credit in Perry, Georgia, where he was employed as a loan officer from Feb. 2012 until his resignation in Feb. 2019. During this time, Spigener recruited co-defendants Farrow, Fuller and Bell to pretend to be borrowers with both institutions. In exchange for using their personal information and appearing at the loan closings, Spigener provided Farrow, Fuller and Bell approximately 10% of the loan proceeds. Spigener would create documentation to ensure the loan applications were approved, even though Farrow, Fuller and Bell were not engaged in farming activity, nor did they have the collateral to back up the loans. Spigener made some repayments on the loans but was unable to repay the vast majority of the loans, and both financial institutions suffered losses. Spigener admits the intended loss amount was more than $550,000 but less than $1.5 million.

The case was investigated by FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Howard is prosecuting the case.

Updated March 17, 2022