Matthew Daniel Sweet, 41, of Timbo, Ark., former vice president and controller at mortgage lender and Treasury Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) recipient One Bank & Trust, has been indicted by federal authorities on 30 counts of bank fraud and 30 counts of money laundering, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reports.
According to Christy Romero, special inspector general for TARP, Sweet abused his position at the bank to steal almost $75,000 to pay his personal credit card bills.
‘TARP was designed to provide support to our nation's banks and financial system during a time of crisis, not to provide a personal bailout for bank insiders to support their spending habits,’ Romero says in a DOJ press release. ‘SIGTARP and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate crime related to TARP and will aggressively investigate allegations of fraud and hold perpetrators accountable for their conduct.’
The DOJ alleges that from January 2009 to October 2011, while Sweet worked at One Bank & Trust (Onebanc), he obtained 30 cashier's checks by using his position as vice president and controller to sign cashier's checks drawn on a Onebanc clearing account. He would then mail the cashier's checks to his two personal credit cards to pay off the credit card bills.
Authorities allege Sweet stole approximately $74,974.15. They say when bank officials confronted Sweet over the matter, he confessed to stealing the money.
Sweet was allowed to resign and paid back the amount he had stolen with two cashier's checks from another bank, according to the DOJ's release. One check for $9,662.25 was made payable to Onebanc, and one for more than $101,003.49 was made payable to Layton Stuart, former president and CEO of Onebanc.
Sweet is scheduled for trial on Dec. 9. If found guilty, he faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines, according to the DOJ.
‘The past few years have been financially challenging for individual citizens and institutions alike,’ says Christopher R. Thyer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. ‘Most have made adjustments and found positive solutions to manage their financial health. For those who choose illegal methods, it is one of our highest priorities to prosecute where the facts and the law warrant charges.’
‘IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to investigating individuals who use their corporations as personal piggy banks,’ adds Christopher A. Henry, special agent in charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Nashville Field Office. ‘With both law enforcement and financial investigation expertise, our agents are uniquely qualified to assist state and federal law agencies with these types of cases by following the money. We are pleased with the successful resolution of this investigation due to the cooperative efforts of our law enforcement partners.’
According to TARP records, One Financial Corporation, the parent company of One Bank and Trust of Little Rock, Ark., received $17.3 million in federal taxpayer funds through the U.S. Department of the TARP. To date, these funds are still outstanding.