The former president and CEO of Tifton Banking Co. in Tifton, Ga., has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in U.S. District Court in Macon, Ga.
In his plea, Gary Patton Hall Jr., 47, admitted that from 2005 through 2010, he conspired with others to get money, credit, assets, securities and other bank property while replacing nonperforming bank loans with new loans in an effort to make the bank appear financially stronger than it was.
In April 2009, Tifton received $3.8 million in federal taxpayer funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.
In November 2010, the bank was closed by state and federal banking regulators. As of Sept. 30, 2010, the bank had operated one banking center and had total assets of $143.7 million and total deposits of $141.6 million, according to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. statement.
One particular loan, guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, caused monetary losses of approximately $2.8 to the bank and the SBA. The $3.8 million in TARP funds also was lost when the bank failed.
The plea agreement calls for Hall to serve 65 months in federal prison, based upon federal sentencing guidelines. The decision to accept this recommendation will be made by the court at the time of sentencing, according to a press statement. Sentencing is currently set for Sept. 30, 2013.
The announcement of Hall's guilty plea was made by Christy Romero, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and Michael J. Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. McCullers is prosecuting the case on behalf of the federal government.
Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff.