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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 12, 2016

Gulf Breeze Attorney Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud, Embezzlement, and Money Laundering Charges

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Richard Michael Colbert, 55, of Pensacola Beach, pled guilty last week to 13 felony counts, including one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and/or mail fraud affecting a financial institution, one count of false statement to a federally insured financial institution, nine counts of money laundering, and two counts of theft, embezzlement or misapplication by a person connected with a financial institution.  The guilty plea was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

Colbert pled guilty surrounding conduct he committed while he was the manager of Beach Title Services, a subsidiary of Beach Community Bank.  That is, Colbert participated in a scheme to defraud and obtain money and/or property by fraudulent means from the federally insured financial institutions Bank of America, Beach Community Bank, and, the now defunct, Premier Community Bank.  As a part of the scheme, Colbert signed and submitted false HUD-1s to Bank of America and Beach Community Bank.  Colbert also signed and submitted a false HUD-1 to the now defunct GulfSouth Private Bank so former builder Lawrence Wright could obtain a loan.  Additionally, while acting as an escrow agent for Beach Community Bank, Colbert embezzled and misapplied funds being held at Beach Community Bank.  Thereafter, Colbert conducted a series of financial transactions, thereby laundering the funds he had embezzled.

For each of the conspiracy, false statement, and theft/embezzlement/misapplication of funds charges, Colbert faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.  For each of the money laundering charges, Colbert faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Colbert is scheduled to be sentenced on March 2, 2017, at the U.S. Courthouse in Pensacola.

The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General, and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer
(850) 216-3854, amy.alexander@usdoj.gov

Topic: 
Financial Fraud
Updated December 12, 2016