Former Bank Officer Sentenced for Bank Fraud Scheme
A Tulsa man was sentenced to federal prison Thursday as the result of a bank fraud scheme that cost his former employer, Firstar Bank of Tulsa, nearly $700,000.
Chief United States District Judge John E. Dowdell sentenced Blake Brian Ferguson, 37, of Broken Arrow, to 31 months in prison on three counts of bank fraud and one count of engaging in an unlawful monetary transaction to be followed by five years of supervised release on the bank fraud charges and three years of supervised release on the monetary transaction charge. All sentences run concurrently. The court further ordered Ferguson to pay $144,160 in restitution to the bank and individual victims affected by the fraudulent scheme.
“The integrity of the banking system is essential to the economic well-being of our community,” said U.S. Attorney Shores. “In this instance, a senior bank officer betrayed the trust and confidence placed in him by the bank, his staff, and customers. Mr. Ferguson’s sentence sends a signal to the marketplace that fraud will not be tolerated inside our financial institutions.”
In imposing sentence, the Court noted that Ferguson had manipulated customer lines of credit in order to obtain funds in the amount of $697,060 to support his gambling habit. At his plea hearing in 2017, Ferguson had admitted that, as an officer at the bank, he increased customer lines of credit to take funds from the loans for his own benefit, mostly to pay gambling debts. The bank was unaware of the fraudulent purpose underlying the loan transactions. Ferguson’s scheme lasted from January 2013 to September 2015.
Ferguson was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prison facility in June 2019.
The FBI, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation /Office of Inspector General, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin C. Leitch prosecuted the case.