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Colorado loan officer avoids trial for bank fraud

A former loan officer at Colorado East Bank and Trust in Pueblo pleaded guilty to bank fraud and receiving kickbacks on March 24. According to reports, the man received around $60,000 in kickbacks from a high school friend during the time period from March 2009 to July 2011 for approving almost $1 million in various loans.

The loans were apparently drawn up in the names of various family members of the friend, including the friend's parents, wife and stepparents. The loans were allegedly made using falsified financial records and forged documentation and paperwork. The loan payouts were apparently sent to a company the man's friend owned that specialized in flipping real estate.

The former loan officer's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 30, and the maximum sentence is fines of up to $1 million, 30 years in prison, restitution and up to five years of supervised release. The man's friend was also charged with 11 counts of giving kickbacks and seven counts of bank fraud. His trial is scheduled for Sept. 15.

While it wasn't clear from reports which of the two men first came up with the alleged fraud scheme, this case clearly shows that those facing charges of fraud or other white collar crimes can face serious penalties in the event of conviction. Because of this, it is important for those accused to thoroughly understand the charges and options for defense. A criminal defense attorney can help defendants decide whether a plea agreement or a trial is in their best interests, depending on the individual circumstances surrounding each case.

Source: The Gazette, "Colorado Springs man pleads guilty in bank fraud case" Wayne Heilman, Mar. 25, 2014

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