September 21, 2018
Fraud Friday — Feds Say Bank VP Embezzles $128K, Writes $700k in Fake Loans for Customer
By Dominic J Bartolone
Contributing Editor, Fraud Friday
A former Renasant Bank Vice President and his customer have been indicted on loan fraud charges totalling more than $850,000 .
An eight-count indictment is filed against Max H. Miller, 53, and Pete Nichols 51. Max is charged with one count of bank fraud and seven counts of embezzlement by a bank officer. Pete is charged with one count of bank fraud.
Max worked as Vice President and commercial relations officer for Renasant Bank from 2012 to 2014. Count 1 of the indictment alleges that Max originated or renewed at least six fraudulent bank loans for more than $700,000.
The loan applications were in the name of four different customers, but the loan proceeds were actually redirected to Pete. Loan documents stated that the money was to be used to purchase a wrecker business, equipment, over 35 acres of land, and to pay off an existing loan.
In the additional counts, the Feds allege that between February 2013 and November 2014, Max generated seven other loans in the names of five different customers. Out of the combined $146,000 in loan proceeds, they allege Max embezzled at least $128,000.
“The facts which led to the investigation were discovered after Mr. Miller left Renasant Bank at the end of 2014,” says John Oxford, director of Marketing and Public Relations of Renasant bank. “Any related loan losses, which were immaterial to the bank, have previously been charged off and we do not anticipate any further losses.”
Before 2012, Max was the manager of First American National Bank.
According to the Secretary of State, Max also served as director for several businesses. He was a registered agent of M&L of Saltillo, an LLC founded in December of 2014, headed a pair of Mississippi businesses that used the same address. He was president of Business Loan & Leasing — a commercial banking venture.
James Randall “Pete” Nichols was listed as registered agent and manager of MML Trucking, LLC.
Pete was represented in court by a public defender, who waived his right to be arraigned. He pleaded not guilty and was released on an unsecured $10,000 bond.
Max also pleaded not guilty and was released on a $10,000 secured bond.
Both face the obligatory hundreds of years in federal prison on all counts.