Leader of Multi-Million Bank Fraud Scheme Sentenced
HOUSTON – A 44-year old resident of Houston has been ordered to federal prison for perpetrating a scheme that caused a loss of more than $4 million to several local banks, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. Andre Chenier pleaded guilty Jan. 29, 2016.
Today, U.S. District Judge Gray Miller, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Chenier a 48-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, Chenier was further ordered to pay $4,581,942 in restitution.
From 2004 to 2012, Chenier obtained multi-million dollar commercial loans from several Houston-area banks by submitting false and fraudulent documents, including Bank of Texas and Third Coast Bank. The loan applications included falsified financial statements and fake income tax returns and were obtained using the Social Security numbers of identity theft victims. Chenier ultimately defaulted on both of these loans and others, resulting in a loss of $4,581,942. Chenier represented to banks that he owned various technology companies, when in fact the companies were fictitious and Chenier was merely living off loan proceeds.
Chenier was assisted in his fraud scheme by co-defendant Jason F. Meadors, 45, of Houston, who was Chenier’s loan officer at Bank of Texas and Third Coast Bank. Another co-defendant - Gregory Roberson, 65, of Missouri City - prepared falsified income tax forms and other documents to help Chenier obtain millions in commercial loans. Meadors and Roberson have also pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme and are scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 12, 2018.
Chenier will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The FBI, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General and IRS – Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Belinda Beek is prosecuting the case.