Franklin Man Convicted of Making False Statement to Obtain $1.2 Million Loan
Murray O. Wilhoite, Jr., 68, of Franklin, Tenn., was convicted yesterday of three felony charges, announced United States Attorney David Rivera. Following a trial before U.S. District Court Judge Aleta A. Trauger, the jury convicted Wilhoite of making a false statement to a bank, making a false statement in a federal bankruptcy filing, and making a false statement under oath during a bankruptcy hearing.
Evidence presented during the trial demonstrated that Wilhoite obtained a $1.2 million loan in December 2007 by pledging as collateral a Franklin, Tennessee property that he did not own. During trial, testimony and exhibits proved that Wilhoite knowingly misrepresented to an FDIC-insured bank that he owned certain real property that he pledged as collateral. However, as trial evidence proved, the property was owned at all relevant times by his father.
In documents signed during the closing for this loan, Wilhoite falsely represented that he was the owner and titleholder of the property, and the bank relied on his statements in permitting him to obtain a loan using the Franklin property as collateral in lieu of a down payment. Wilhoite subsequently lied during a 2011 bankruptcy filing, by again misrepresenting that he owned the Franklin property, and did so for the purpose of preventing the bank from foreclosing on this property after he defaulted on his loan. Wilhoite lied again at a 2013 hearing before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, during which he perjured himself by falsely stating that he had not known that the Franklin property was designated as collateral for the loan. The evidence at trial proved that Wilhoite made the bankruptcy-related false statements knowingly and with the intent to deceive.
Wilhoite faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000 on the false statement to a bank charge, and up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on the other charges. Wilhoite will be sentenced by Judge Trauger on September 23, 2016. The sentence will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and applicable federal statutes.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the United States Trustee. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sandra G. Moses and William F. Abely.