Home Memphis Press Releases 2013 Brentwood Businessman Sentenced to 24 Months in Prison for Bank Fraud

Brentwood Businessman Sentenced to 24 Months in Prison for Bank Fraud

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 30, 2013
  • Middle District of Tennessee (615) 736-5151

B Joseph D. Wheliss, Jr., 44, of Brentwood, Tennessee, former owner and operator of National Embroidery Works Inc., was sentenced on October 25, 2013, by Chief United States District Court Judge William J. Haynes, Jr. to 24 months in prison, to be followed by a five-year term of supervised release and an additional 17 months in a halfway house, announced David Rivera, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. Wheliss was also ordered to pay approximately $1.9 million in restitution to Pinnacle National Bank and $2.85 million in restitution to Cincinnati Insurance Company.

Wheliss pleaded guilty on October 5, 2012, to a single count of bank fraud, arising from a fraudulent loan scheme. Between May 2005 and January 2011, Wheliss sought and received multiple loans from Pinnacle National Bank totaling more than $4 million. The majority of the loans were commercial loans to Wheliss’ business, National Embroidery Works Inc. To collateralize each of these loans, Wheliss pledged his purported interest in a trust fund which he knew was non-existent.

During the five-year period of the scheme, Wheliss regularly presented forged documents to Pinnacle National Bank purporting to show the balance of the fictitious trust fund growing from approximately $2.7million to over $19 million. As a result of this fraudulent scheme, Wheliss obtained over $4.7 million in loans from Pinnacle National Bank, which he used to fund his living expenses and lavish lifestyle.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra G. Moses.

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