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Press Release

Attorney And Former Bank Director Convicted At Trial Of Bank Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that yesterday a federal jury found MENDEL ZILBERBERG guilty of five counts — conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to make false statements to a bank, making false statements to a bank, and misapplication of bank funds — in connection with a scheme to obtain a fraudulent loan from Park Avenue Bank.  The defendant was found guilty following a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels.  Sentencing is scheduled for November 29, 2023, before Judge Daniels.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Mendel Zilberberg, while working as a practicing lawyer and serving as a director of Park Avenue Bank, ignored his duties and took advantage of the bank, viewing it as the object of his fraud scheme.  Far from helping the bank through a tenuous moment in its existence, Zilberberg was focused on squeezing money out of it for himself, on the basis of lies.  The bank collapsed just months after Zilberberg defrauded it.” 

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment, the evidence offered at trial, and matters included in public filings:

In or about 2009, ZILBERBERG conspired with Aron Fried and others to obtain a fraudulent loan from Park Avenue Bank (the “Bank”).  Knowing that the conspirators would not be able to obtain the loan directly, the conspirators recruited a straw borrower (the “Straw Borrower”) to make the loan application.  The Straw Borrower applied for a $1.4 million loan from the Bank on the basis of numerous lies directed by ZILBERBERG and his coconspirators. 

ZILBERBERG used his privileged position at the bank to ensure that the loan was processed promptly.  Based on the false representations made to the Bank and ZILBERBERG’s involvement in the loan approval process, the Bank issued a $1.4 million loan to the Straw Borrower, which was quickly disbursed to the defendants through multiple bank accounts and transfers.  In total, ZILBERBERG received more than approximately $500,000 of the loan proceeds.  The remainder of the loan was split between Fried and another conspirator.  The Straw Borrower received nothing from the loan.  The loan ultimately defaulted, resulting in a loss of over $1 million.

On November 15, 2022, Fried pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  On April 10, 2023, Judge Daniels sentenced Fried to one year and one day in prison.

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ZILBERBERG, 65 of Monsey, New York, was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; conspiracy to make false statements to a bank, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; making false statement to a bank, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; and misapplying bank funds, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.  The maximum sentence ZILBERBERG faces on all of these charges is 125 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Inspector General.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dina McLeod, Daniel G. Nessim, and Kimberly Ravener, with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Joseph Carbone, are in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated July 12, 2023

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-244