NEW YORK (Reuters) – The former president of New York’s privately held Park Avenue Bank was arrested and charged on Monday with being the first person to attempt to steal from U.S. government bailout funds in the financial crisis.

A 10-count criminal complaint accused Charles Antonucci of devising “an elaborate round-trip loan transaction” that he told others was his own $6.5 million investment in the bank, misleading state bank regulators and the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

The charges filed in Manhattan federal court said Charles Antonucci made false statements in the bank’s application for $11.2 million from TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“Antonucci is the first person ever to be charged with attempting to defraud the TARP and we expect he will not be the last,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference.

He declined to give further details of the continuing investigation, other than to say prosecutors and New York state bank regulators would be making a review of banks that appear to be having problems.

The prosecutor said Antonucci’s “supposed investment was the functional equivalent of monopoly money.” Bharara described additional components of a complex fraud, including a line of credit through a company called “Easy Wealth;” overdrafts to companies controlled by an unidentified co-conspirator; leases on personal property paid by the bank; a counterfeit certificate of deposit; and a $100,000 defrauding of the pastors of a church in Coral Springs, Florida.

Read More:

Advertisements