Former Chief Lending Officer Of New Jersey Bank Admits Making False Statements To United States In An Effort To Secure Federal Guarantees On Loans
TRENTON, N.J. – A Pennsylvania man today admitted improperly securing a federal guarantee on a loan by making false statements to the Small Business Administration (SBA) about the creditworthiness of those loans while serving as the chief lending officer of a New Jersey bank, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
James Bortolotti, 51, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of knowingly making false statements for the purpose of influencing the action of the SBA.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
While serving as the chief lending officer of a New Jersey bank (Bank-1), Bortolotti became aware of a Small Business Administration lending program to incentivize lenders, including banks, to loan money to small businesses by providing a 75 percent SBA-backed guarantee on loans. When a lender applies an SBA guarantee on a loan, the lender must disclose information related to the creditworthiness of the small business. Bank-1 hired a consulting firm to help the bank apply for SBA-backed guarantees.
On Feb. 29, 2012, a consultant from the consulting firm submitted an application to the SBA for a guarantee of approximately $3.75 million on loans totaling approximately $5 million made to a small business located in Robbinsville, New Jersey. The application contained false information related to the creditworthiness of the business. Bortolotti knew the application contained false information, but reviewed and signed the application on behalf of the bank.
Making false statements for the purpose of influencing the action of the SBA carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for April 16, 2020.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the SBA-Office of the Inspector General (SBA-OIG), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kupperbusch in Philadelphia; the FDIC-Office of the Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia Tarasca in New York; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert Manchak, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Stephen Ferketic of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Opioid Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: William C. Cagney Esq., New Brunswick, New Jersey