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Press Release

Bank Officer Sentenced for Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Mississippi

OXFORD, Miss. – A former bank officer has been sentenced to two years in prison for embezzling funds from Southern Bancorp Bank.  Michael J. Erickson, age 42, of Ridgeland, Mississippi, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Glen H. Davidson on Thursday to serve 24 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release. In addition, Erickson was ordered to pay $1,462,030.31 in restitution to Southern Bancorp Bank. United States Attorney William C. Lamar, Christopher Freeze, Special Agent in Charge at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Christy Goldsmith Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) made the announcement following the sentencing.

Previously, on October 9, 2018, Erickson pled guilty to a one count Information charging him with Embezzlement by a Bank Officer in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 656. The conduct in question occurred while Erickson was employed as an officer at Southern Bancorp Bank in Clarksdale, Mississippi.  In August 2010, the United States Treasury Department invested $33,800,000 in the holding company of Southern Bancorp Bank through the Community Development Capital Initiative.  As a part of his plea, Erickson admitted to using his position as a bank officer to embezzle bank funds for his own benefit and generate fraudulent loans for the benefit of himself and others.

Following the sentencing in Oxford, Mississippi, U.S. Attorney William C. Lamar remarked, “As evidenced by the sentencing today, we will vigorously prosecute those bank employees who betray the public trust by embezzling or stealing from our financial institutions.”

“Embezzlement at any level weakens our economic stability and undermines our financial institutions as a whole,” said Christopher Freeze, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi. “We will maintain our strong relationship with the United States Attorney’s Office and partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure these types of criminals are fully investigated and prosecuted across Mississippi.”

“Former bank officer Michael Erickson was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for criminally defrauding Southern Bancorp, after the bank received a nearly $34 million TARP bailout,” said Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Christy Goldsmith Romero. “Instead of acting in the public trust, Erickson used his position at Southern Bancorp to steal thousands of dollars for his own personal enrichment from a commercial loan he managed. I thank the United States Attorney’s Office for Northern District of Mississippi for bringing justice in this case.”

This case was jointly investigated by the FBI and the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP). The case was prosecuted by AUSA Clay Dabbs.    




Susan Bradley
Deputy Chief
Criminal Division

Updated February 14, 2019

Financial Fraud