When it comes to criminal charges, sometimes working with the evidence before its actually filed is in a person’s best interest. This is often the case in the area of white collar crime. If convicted, penalties can be severe and have long-term consequences that affect one’s reputation, earning capability and family life.

Two Missouri men are facing that potential now. According to reports, they have pleaded guilty to fraud charges after an investigation revealed they defrauded a Troubled Asset Relief Program bank. The bank had received taxpayer financial support through the program; however, it failed anyway in 2012. In the middle of the financial crisis, the men had submitted false construction draws to obtain money from a loan held with the bank.

Records show the loan money was earmarked for rental properties owned by the men. It was to be used for renovations. Allegedly, they used it for non-related things. Subsequently, they defaulted on the loan in 2010. The federally bailed-out bank was closed by regulators in 2012, and the TARP investment and its anticipated dividend and interest return was lost.

Dealing with allegations of fraud requires effective defense strategies and sound negotiating skills to protect the rights of the accused and safeguard the other aspects of their lives. Often a plea bargain is struck when evidence is such that a trial isn’t the best option. In this case, the men and prosecutors reportedly reached plea agreements. According to the record, both of them admitted they made false statements to the bank regarding their escrow funds in place with the bank for the rental homes repairs. Based on the statements, the bank released the funds. The men admitted using them for personal gain.

A sentencing hearing will be held on July 10, 2014. The men were released on bond. The maximum penalty for bank fraud is 30 years in prison. There can also be a fine of up to $1 million imposed. The judge will consider appropriate ranges based on government guidelines.

Source:  Loansafe.org, “Two Missouri Businessmen Plead Guilty to Defrauding TARP Bank” Maurice Bednard, Apr. 09, 2014