Hot Springs Man Sentenced to 41 Months for Defrauding Arvest Bank
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 02, 2013|
FAYETTEVILLE, AR—United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Conner Eldridge announced that Stephen R. Walker, age 46, of Hot Springs, Arkansas, was sentenced today on one count of bank fraud. Walker was sentenced to 41 months’ imprisonment, five years of supervised release, and a $10,000 fine. United States District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren presided over the sentencing in Fayetteville, Arkansas and ordered his sentence to run consecutive to his previously imposed state sentence.
U.S. Attorney Eldridge commented, “Prosecuting federal crimes involving fraud remains a top priority in the Western District of Arkansas. We will continue to be vigilant in pursing those who commit fraud regardless of the type of scheme criminals employ.”
“Today’s sentence sends a strong message about those who lie to banks and by doing so inject bad debt into our economy. Don't let greed get the best of you.” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Randall C. Coleman. “In this case, the fabrications, the false statements, and the misrepresentations made by Mr. Walker were all about greed. I commend the work of the Arkansas Securities Department, the United States Attorney’s Office, and our agents in bringing Mr. Walker to justice.”
According to documents filed in the case, beginning in May 2003, Stephen R. Walker owned and operated Renaissance Development, LLC, a company whose primary business was to develop retail shopping centers. In March 2004, Renaissance Development, LLC and others formed Broken Arrow Plaza Associates (BAPA) in order to construct a shopping plaza in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. In December of 2004, Walker, on behalf of BAPA, entered a loan agreement with Arvest Bank in Rogers, Arkansas to fund the construction of the shopping plaza. The terms of the loan specified that the loan funds be used solely to fund the construction of the retail lease space in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. In 2005, Walker withdrew $423,305.50 from the Arvest loan for work he claimed was completed on the Broken Arrow project. No work was completed on the project, but Walker fabricated two construction invoices and prepared two checks in the amount of the invoices as part of his fraudulent scheme to misrepresent to Arvest Bank that the construction work had been completed. In reliance on Walker’s documentation, Arvest Bank released the requested funds to Walker. Walker proceeded to transfer the majority of the funds to a pay a contractor for a past debt he owed on a different construction project and converted the remaining funds to a cashier’s check payable to Renaissance Development. Walker pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud on November 14, 2012.
On July 20, 2012, Walker was previously sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for willful tax evasion after setting up the payment of his salary from Renaissance Development during 2005 in a manner to willfully evade paying taxes on his income.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Arkansas Securities Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Harris prosecuted the case for the United States.