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Press Release

Cfo Of Berlin, New Hampshire Business Indicted In Multi-million Dollar Bank Fraud Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Steven D. Griffin, 59, of Berlin, New Hampshire, was charged in a nine-count indictment with making false statements to a financial institution in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014.  Griffin appeared before Chief U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss in Burlington on April 6, 2015 and pled not guilty to the charges.  He was released on conditions pending trial.

            Griffin was part owner and Chief Financial Officer of Isaacson Structural Steel, Inc. (ISSI), which before its bankruptcy was one of the largest businesses in the North Country of New Hampshire. ISSI fabricated steel used in commercial construction. It entered into construction contracts to provide not only the steel for commercial buildings but also to provide subcontractor services, principally the erection of the steel. ISSI purchased steel and fabricated the various pieces of steel needed for each contract at its Berlin, New Hampshire location and then shipped the steel to building sites.

            The indictment charges that, between 2007 and 2011, Griffin submitted inflated figures for assets of ISSI to Passumpsic Saving Bank, and other banks participating in loans to the company that totaled over $12 million, including a $2 million loan guaranteed by the Small Business Administration in late 2010. In April 2011, the banks learned about issues with ISSI’s asset figures. By June 2011, ISSI was in bankruptcy, and its assets were later liquidated. In the end, the banks lost millions of dollars as a result of the fraud.

            Passumpsic Savings Bank is headquartered in the District of Vermont.

            On February 13, 2014, Arnold Hanson, ISSI’s former Chief Executive Officer, who shared ownership of ISSI with Griffin, pled guilty to conspiring to make false statements to a financial institution.  Hanson is scheduled to be sentenced on May 27, 2015.

            If convicted, Griffin faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine on each count.  His actual sentence, in the event of conviction, would be determined by the court with reference to the advisory federal sentencing guidelines.  Acting United States Attorney Cowles stated that the indictment is an accusation only and that Griffin is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

            The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul J. Van de Graaf and Timothy C. Doherty, Jr.  Griffin is represented by Paul S. Volk of the Burlington law firm, Blodgett, Watts & Volk. 

            The investigation, which is ongoing, is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of Inspector General for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Office of Inspector for the Small Business Administration.

Updated June 22, 2015