Two Bank Insiders Plead Guilty To Fraudulent Loan Scheme And Bank Bribery
Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that codefendants HERODE CHANCY and MICHAEL ALBARELLA, who at the time of offense were employed as a managers at a Manhattan branch of a national bank (“Bank-1”), have pled guilty before United States District Judge Lewis J. Liman in connection with their respective roles in a loan fraud and bank bribery scheme. CHANCY pled guilty on March 12, 2021, to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and ALBARELLA pled guilty today to bank bribery.
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Bank employee Herode Chancy engaged in a scheme to obtain over $1 million in commercial loans for fake businesses, and his co-worker Michael Albarella then accepted a bribe to open a bank account using a stolen identity for the purpose of laundering a portion of the stolen money. Chancy and Albarella now await sentencing for their fraudulent and corrupt acts.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint, Indictment, and statements made in court:
From at least in or about March 2019 up to and including at least in or about March 2020, CHANCY and Adedayo Ilori conspired to fraudulently obtain business loans from a third-party commercial lender with the intent not to repay the loans – i.e., with the intent to “bust out” the loans. CHANCY and Ilori together submitted eight fraudulent business loan applications for a total of $1,025,000 in business loans. The business loan applications submitted by CHANCY and Ilori included doctored bank statements and listed the identities of other persons as the loan applicants, including stolen identities. CHANCY and Ilori also opened bank accounts using the identities of those other persons in order to receive the loan payments from the third-party commercial lender. CHANCY and Ilori subsequently conspired with ALBARELLA, another bank manager at Bank-1, to open a bank account using a stolen identity to launder approximately $200,000 of the expected proceeds of the loan scheme. ALBARELLA opened the bank account at Bank-1 using the stolen identity provided by CHANCY and Ilori, and ALBARELLA accepted a $10,000 bribe to open the bank account.
CHANCY and Ilori believed that the underwriter for the third-party commercial lender was participating in the scheme and agreed to pay the underwriter a “commission” for the underwriter’s role in the scheme. In reality, however, the underwriter was an undercover law enforcement officer.
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CHANCY, 41, of Bellerose, New York, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. CHANCY also admitted that he conspired to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h). CHANCY will be sentenced by Judge Liman on July 9, 2021, at 2:00 p.m.
ALBARELLA, 35, of Floral Park, New York, pled guilty to one count of bank bribery, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. ALBARELLA will be sentenced by Judge Liman on June 28, 2021, at 2:00 p.m.
Ilori is charged with: (1) conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, (2) wire fraud, (3) mail fraud, and (4) conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and (5) aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory term of two years in prison, to be served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment.
The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force and Homeland Security Investigation’s El Dorado Task Force.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Tara M. La Morte and Cecilia E. Vogel are in charge of the prosecution.
The allegations against Ilori in the Complaint and Indictment are merely accusations, and Ilori is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.