Hot Springs Insurance Agent Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Banks Out Of Over $3.5 Million
Hot Springs, Arkansas – Duane (DAK) Kees, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas announced today that Berry Roland Bishop, age 67, of Hot Springs, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to the offense of Knowingly Defrauding Financial Institutions. The Honorable Susan O. Hickey accepted the plea in the United States District Court in Hot Springs.
According to the Information filed by the United States Attorney’s Office and the plea agreement accepted by the District Court, Bishop defrauded two area banks by two separate schemes. Bishop, president of the Alliance Insurance Group of Arkadelphia, forged the signatures of multiple insurance clients and applied for twenty-seven separate loans in their names with the Bank of Prescott. Bishop applied for these loans without the authorization or knowledge of those clients and, in the process, defrauded the Bank of Prescott out of over $2.1 million. As part of his plea, Bishop also admitted that he defrauded Citizens Bank out of $200,000 by misrepresenting the financial condition of his company, specifically the condition of the collateral, to induce Citizens to approve loans to his company that would not have otherwise been authorized. Bishop applied for these loans from Citizens Bank and the Bank of Prescott to improve the cash flow of his business. According to the plea agreement, both the Government and Bishop agree that the total loss amount attributed to Bishop’s criminal conduct will exceed $3.5 million dollars.
The defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court at a later date. In this case, Bishop faces a maximum sentence of up to thirty years in prison and a fine up to $ 1 million dollars for the Bank Fraud charge.
The FBI investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wulff of the Western District of Arkansas is prosecuting the case.