Businessman Convicted of Making False Statements to Bank to Secure Over $750,000 in Funding
BATON ROUGE, LA - United States Attorney Walt Green announced today that CHARLES RICHARD BARBER, age 65, of Jackson, Louisiana, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles to making false statements to a financial institution in order to secure over $750,000 in funding, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1014. As a result of his conviction, BARBER faces a term of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, a fine, a restitution order, and forfeiture of the proceeds of the fraud. The sentencing date has not yet been set.
During the guilty plea hearing, BARBER admitted to the following facts. In October 2014, BARBER worked for an entity that had an ownership interest in Hometown Credit of Jackson, a finance company that provided short-term loans to individuals. Hometown Credit was funded, in part, through a $750,235 line of credit with Highlands Bank. The collateral for the line of credit consisted of Hometown Credit’s loan portfolio. As a result, Highlands Bank had a vested interest in the value of that loan portfolio and required Hometown Credit to provide it with monthly reports about its loan portfolio as a condition for the line of credit.
To ensure continued access to the line of credit, BARBER admitted that he submitted false reports to Highlands Bank in order to hide the sharply declining value of Hometown Credit’s loan portfolio and thus ensure continued access to the line of credit. BARBER admitted further that his actions resulted in Highlands Bank losing approximately $590,000.
United States Attorney Green said: “Fraud against our banks, credit unions, and the financial industry threatens not just the financial institutions themselves, but also their customers, borrowers, employees, and the taxpayers. I commend our excellent partners with the FBI, the Louisiana Inspector General’s Office, and the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions for their work on this important matter, along with the dedicated efforts of our prosecutors. Our office will continue to aggressively pursue such fraud regardless of its sophistication or complexity.”
This ongoing matter is being investigated by the Baton Rouge Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Louisiana Inspector General’s Office, with the assistance of the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys René Salomon and Adam Ptashkin.