June 7, 2019

By Dominic J Bartolone
Contributing Editor, Fraud Friday

Fraud Friday — Ex-Mirae Bank Executive Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison for Loan Fraud

The former chief marketing officer of the now-shuttered Mirae Bank will spend nearly six years in federal prison for participating in a loan fraud scheme that led to more than $7 million in losses and ultimately bankrupted the federally insured financial institution.

Ataollah Aminpour, 60, of Beverly Hills, was sentenced in district court to 70 months in prison, and ordered to pay $7,519,084 in restitution. U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer ordered Aminpour to be remanded into custody to begin immediately serving his sentence.

Aminpour, who goes by the name Johnny Aminpour, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to one felony count of making a false statement to a financial institution. According to court documents, Aminpour represented himself as a successful businessman who had the connections to help borrowers obtain financing for the purchase of gas stations and car washes, with little or no money down.

For some deals, Aminpour would find a business for the buyer and purportedly negotiate the sales price on their behalf. However, he would overstate the actual purchase price of the company, thereby causing the bank to fund inflated loan amounts that were not fully secured.

Between 2005 and 2007, Aminpour, working with others, submitted fraudulent commercial loan applications to Koreatown-based Mirae Bank. As a senior bank executive, Aminpour knowingly submitted and caused others to provide false information about the actual purchase price of the businesses, as well as inaccurate information about the business finances and the assets of the borrowers.

To circumvent the bank’s down payment requirements, Aminpour arranged for money to be transferred into escrow accounts, which made it appear to Mirae Bank that the borrowers were making large down payments. This scheme allowed borrowers to purchase the business with small or no down payments, with Aminpour keeping the overfunded amounts for himself, on top of earning generous commissions.

In his written plea deal, Aminpour admitted to making false statements in six loan applications submitted between November 2005 and February 2007, for a total of $16.7 million, with losses on those loans amounting to more than $7.5 million.

In addition to those applications, Aminpour funneled another $150 million in business loans to Mirae Bank, which led to additional losses that eventually caused the bank’s collapse.

After the bank’s failure in 2009, the FDIC took over control of Mirae Bank as the receiver and worked with Wilshire Bank to acquire its assets. The FDIC, along with Wilshire Bank, suffered another $33 million in losses as a direct result from the loans
submitted by Aminpour.