Springfield-Area Business Owner, Son Plead Guilty in $5.5 Million Fraud Scheme
SPRINGFIELD, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the owner of several Springfield, Mo., area restaurants and his son pleaded guilty in federal court today, in two separate but related cases, to their roles in a more than $5.5 million bank fraud scheme.
Bruce Swisshelm, 68, of Battlefield, Mo., and his son, Bruce Swisshelm II, 43, of Springfield, pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush. Swisshelm pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering. Swisshelm II pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony.
Swisshelm was the owner of Horned Frog Deli, Inc., and Swisshelm Properties, Inc. These corporations, which specialized in the restaurant industry, owned and developed commercial properties in Springfield and elsewhere. Swisshelm owned and operated Burger King restaurants, Macaroni Grill restaurants, San Francisco Oven restaurants, McAlister’s Deli restaurants, Ebbett’s Field restaurants and a Fog City Coffee restaurant. Swisshelm II served as the president for Swisshelm Properties.
Swisshelm admitted that he submitted false financial documents to Great Southern Bank in order to receive four commercial loans, totaling $5,592,583, from February to June 25, 2011. The bank relied on the false information provided within the financial statements submitted by Swisshelm when it approved the commercial loans.
Swisshelm submitted financial statements to the bank that claimed his businesses earned a net income of more than $780,000 in 2010. Tax documents submitted by Swisshelm to the Internal Revenue Service revealed those businesses had losses that exceeded $1.8 million in 2010.
Swisshelm II admitted that he knew about his father’s bank fraud scheme. He was personally involved in the communications with Great Southern Bank, attended meetings at the bank and signed bank documents related to the issuance of the commercial loans. After Great Southern Bank had issued the loans, Swisshelm II was made aware of his father’s fraud scheme. Swisshelm II was made aware that financial statements submitted to the bank by his father were false. Despite possessing this knowledge, Swisshelm failed to notify authorities.
Swisshelm II admitted that he helped conceal his father’s crime after he became aware of the fraud scheme and delayed the fraud being reported to authorities by Great Southern Bank.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Swisshelm must forfeit to the government $5,592,583, which constitutes the proceeds obtained from his criminal activity.
Under federal statutes, Swisshelm is subject to a sentence of up to 40 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1,250,000 and an order of restitution. Swisshelm II is subject to a sentence of up to three years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. They were investigated by the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation.