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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 29, 2018

A Former Synovus Employee Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Bank, Not Paying Taxes On Illegal Income

COLUMBUS— A former commercial banker for Synovus entered a guilty plea to bank fraud and tax evasion charges in federal court Wednesday, said Charles E. Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. John D. Evans, 47 of Columbus, Georgia, entered the plea before the Honorable Clay D. Land. Mr. Evans pled guilty to four counts of Bank Fraud and four counts of Tax Evasion on Wednesday, November 28, 2018. Evans will be sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Land at a time yet to be determined. 

According to the plea agreement, Mr. Evans managed some of the largest clients for Synovus and diverted $1,046,602 in Synovus client funds into a personal account he opened at another bank. The fraud occurred between July 2, 2013 and May 24, 2017 while Mr. Evans worked as a commercial banker for Synovus. Financial records revealed that Evans used these funds to pay for a wide assortment of his personal expenses, including payments on vehicles, credit card bills, vacations, jewelry, and cash withdrawals. In addition, Mr. Evans failed to pay income taxes on the stolen money, amounting to $221,357.

“Fraud of this magnitude violates the public trust, and negatively impacts the financial system and the business community as a whole,” said Charles E. Peeler, U.S. Attorney. “I want to thank the combined investigative work of the FBI, IRS and the Office of Inspector General. I also want to thank Synovus for their total cooperation in this investigation, and helping bring this fraud to light.”

“We appreciate the efforts of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia in bringing this matter to a conclusion, and we are pleased that no customer experienced a loss as result of Mr. Evans’ actions,” said Lee Underwood, Communications Director for Synovus.

“Evan’s plea is the result of the determination and hard work of federal investigators and prosecutors who aggressively pursue allegations of bank fraud,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI is determined to pursue any allegations of persons who would choose to take advantage of their trusted positions of employment.”

“Even with substantial controls and banking regulations in place, people will find ways to embezzle from their employers. If you commit fraud, you will get caught and face the consequences," said Thomas J. Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS- Criminal Investigation.

This case was investigated by agents with the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Assistant United States Attorney Melvin Hyde is prosecuting the case for the United States.

Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.

Updated November 29, 2018