Gering Man Sentenced for Bank Fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska
Acting United States Attorney Susan Lehr announced that George Liakos, 64, of Gering, Nebraska, was sentenced on October 27, 2023, in federal court in Lincoln, Nebraska for Bank Fraud. Senior United States District Court Judge John M. Gerrard sentenced Liakos to 36 months’ imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system. After Liakos’s release from prison, he will begin a 5-year term of supervised release. As part of his sentence, Liakos was ordered to pay $5,059,035.43 in restitution to First Interstate Bank.
Great Western Bank, which was subsequently acquired by First Interstate Bank, was a banking corporation with locations in Iowa, Colorado, South Dakota, and Nebraska, including a banking office in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Great Western Bank’s deposits were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Liakos conducted a farming operation in Bayard, Nebraska, primarily growing beans, corn and sugar beets as well as raising cattle for sale.
Beginning in April 2017 and continuing through May 2019, Liakos misrepresented the amount of commodities he had in storage, cattle inventory, and acreage of crops and concealed his debt from Great Western Bank in order to secure approximately $11 million in loans.
As a part of his scheme to obtain money from Great Western Bank, on June 2, 2017, Liakos executed Loans and a Security Agreement with Great Western Bank. The loans and security agreement consisted of a revolving line of credit, machinery and equipment loan and a livestock loan. In approving the Loans and Security Agreement, Great Western Bank relied upon information provided by Liakos reflecting current commodity and livestock inventory, accounts receivable, loans, and accounts payable which he knew materially overstated his commodity inventory and materially understated and failed to report loans and accounts payable. As part of this agreement, Liakos granted Great Western Bank a security interest in assets and farm products as collateral for the loan. As a result of the Liakos’s scheme and artifice to defraud, Great Western Bank sustained a financial loss of $3,940,007.80.
After the sentencing, FBI Omaha Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel said, “George Liakos’ crime may not have been violent, but there were real victims. His years of lies and falsifying documents led to a local bank’s loss of more than seven million dollars. Today’s sentence illustrates the FBI’s mission to investigate complex fraud cases and bring to justice those who enrich themselves at the expense of others by breaking the law.”
Matthew T. Wilkins, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General said “I want to thank the US Attorney’s Office, OIG special agents, and our investigative partners for their hard work on this investigation. When the integrity of the United States Department of Agriculture’s farm loan programs is violated by criminal conduct, the Office of Inspector General will pursue justice to the fullest extent of the law.”
Acting United States Attorney Susan T. Lehr stated, “Today’s sentencing is the product of nearly four years of investigating and prosecuting Liakos for making material misrepresentations to the Commodity Credit Corporation and Great Western Bank to obtain significant lines of credit. His misrepresentations and actions resulted in millions of dollars in loss being sustained by Great Western Bank. Today’s result reflects our office’s commitment to work with our federal partners such as the FBI and USDA-OIG to bring white collar criminals to justice.”
This case was investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture – Office of the Inspector General and
Updated November 8, 2023