Former Onebanc Vice President Indicted on Charges of Bank Fraud and Money Laundering
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 08, 2013|
LITTLE ROCK—Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; Christopher A. Henry, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Nashville Field Office; and Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP), announced that an indictment charging Matthew Daniel Sweet, age 41, of Timbo, Arkansas, with 30 counts of bank fraud and 30 counts of money laundering was unsealed today. Sweet made his initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe. Sweet was released on his own recognizance after his court appearance. The trial was scheduled for December 9, 2013, before United States District Judge J. Leon Holmes.
“The past few years have been financially challenging for individual citizens and institutions alike,” stated Thyer. “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,” said SAC Henry. 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.”
“Matthew Sweet, former vice president and controller at TARP recipient One Bank and Trust, allegedly abused his position at the bank to steal almost $75,000 to pay his personal credit card bills,” said Special Inspector General Romero. “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. 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.”
According to TARP records, One Financial Corporation, the parent company of One Bank and Trust of Little Rock, Arkansas, received $17.3 million in federal taxpayer funds through the U.S. Department of the Treasury Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). To date, these funds are still outstanding.
Sweet was the former vice president and controller (VP&C) of One Bank and Trust N.A. (Onebanc) until February 2012. While employed with Onebanc, the indictment alleges that Sweet obtained 30 cashier’s checks from January 2009 to October 2011 by using his position as VP&C 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. In total, Sweet is alleged to have stolen approximately $74,974.15. When confronted by Onebanc management, Sweet admitted his actions. He was allowed to resign and paid back the amount he had stolen with two cashier’s checks from another bank. One check for $9,662.25 was made payable to Onebanc and one for over $101,003.49 payable to Layton Stuart, former president and CEO of Onebanc.
The maximum sentence for bank fraud is not more than 30 years’ imprisonment, not more than a $1,000,000 fine, and/or not more than five years of supervised release. The maximum sentence for money laundering is not more than 20 years’ imprisonment, not more than $500,000 fine, and/or not more than three years of supervised release.
The case was investigated by the agents from the IRS-Criminal Investigation, SIGTARP, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Reserve, and the FDIC. The case is prosecuted by First Assistant United States Attorney Pat Harris and Assistant United States Attorney Angela Jegley.
The charges set forth in an Indictment are merely allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.