Appalachian Community Bank Vice President Sentenced to Federal Prison for Bank Fraud
GAINESVILLE, GA—William R. Beamon, Jr., a/k/a “Rusty” Beamon has been sentenced to three years, six months in federal prison for defrauding Appalachian Community Bank, in Ellijay, Georgia. Beamon was convicted by a jury of five counts of bank fraud on December 19, 2014, after a five-day trial.
“Bank fraud is a critical problem that has hit Georgia especially hard,” said Acting United States Attorney John A. Horn. “Georgia leads the nation in bank failures since 2008, with 88 banks failing—including Appalachian Community Bank, the bank this defendant defrauded. These failures significantly affect the economy, making these cases important to safeguard the nation’s financial health.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The sentencing of Mr. Beamon will hold him accountable for his actions but, unfortunately, will not be able to restore the bank in which he worked for and betrayed. Bank fraud is not a victimless crime and the FBI will continue to provide extensive resources in investigating those who engage in such criminal acts.”
“Former banker Beamon, of TARP applicant Appalachian Community Bank, was sentenced to three years, six months in federal prison for raiding the bank’s inventory of foreclosed real estate when the bank was seeking a TARP bailout,” said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP). “A federal jury convicted Beamon of bank fraud. Beamon fraudulently rented out bank-owned properties and collected rent payments for his own use, and he caused the bank to sell properties to his wife and to a shell company he controlled at severely discounted prices—prices well below what others were willing to pay. He claims he did it to save the bank, but these transactions put the bank in jeopardy, and Beamon profited. SIGTARP and our law enforcement partners will shut down TARP-related fraud, swindling, and self-dealing and ensure that perpetrators pay for their crimes.”
“The sentencing of Mr. Beamon reflects fitting punishment for an individual who abused his position of trust at Appalachian Community Bank for personal gain and caused irreparable harm to the institution. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General is firmly committed to helping ensure integrity in our nation’s banks. We value the cooperative working relationships with our law enforcement partners that bring about such successful outcomes,” said Fred W. Gibson, Acting Inspector General, FDIC.
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court: Beamon was Vice President of Appalachian Community Bank in Ellijay, Ga. Due to its poor financial condition, Appalachian was forced to close on March 19, 2010, and the FDIC was appointed receiver.
Beamon was in charge of Appalachian’s foreclosure liquidation department. In 2009, he represented to a real estate agent that he personally owned a house in Cumming, Georgia. Beamon hired that agent to market and lease the property on his behalf. In truth, however, the property was owned by Appalachian and was part of the bank’s foreclosure inventory. Beamon’s real estate agent found someone to lease the property and negotiated a lease on Beamon’s behalf. Beamon then deposited into his personal bank account more than $20,000 in rent payments and security deposits that he obtained by leasing out the bank’s property as if he were the owner. Beamon also caused Appalachian to sell bank-owned properties to his wife and to a shell company that he owned—all at prices that were substantially below what other buyers were ready, willing, and able to pay the bank.
Beamon, 54, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to three years, six months in federal prison, to be followed by five years on supervised release following his prison term, a $500 special assessment, and forfeiture of all real properties involved in the offense.
This case was investigated by the FDIC Office of Inspector General; the Department of Treasury, Special Inspector General Troubled Asset Relief Program; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys J. Russell Phillips, Douglas W. Gilfillan, and Jenny R. Turner prosecuted the case.