Fraud Friday — Regions Bank Senior VP Pleads Guilty to Bribery and Fraud Charges

May 5, 2017

Fraud Friday — Regions Bank Senior VP Pleads Guilty to Bribery and Fraud Charges

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Fraud Friday

Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Regions Equipment Financing Company, Regions Bank offered business customers equipment financing and lease options.

Philip Cooper worked for Regions Bank as REFCO’s asset manager.

Cooper says he and REFCO’s chief administrative officer recruited Jesse Ellis, 56, to establish Residual Assurance, Inc., a company that would provide residual value insurance, a type of insurance designed to manage asset value risk and provide favorable accounting treatment on leases for Regions Bank.

While Ellis had no experience providing residual value insurance, his new company received about $5 million in fees from Regions Bank over five years between 2010 and 2015.

Which Cooper says was split about three ways between the co-conspirators.

Cooper established a company named Capital Equipment Appraisal Service to receive his payments.

Ellis deposited most of Cooper’s share of the bribery payments into a Wells Fargo Bank account Cooper opened for that company. Cooper also had a part of his share of the money deposited into an account at Merrill Lynch.

Philip Cooper’s plea agreement recommends a five-year prison sentence for the 67-year old Cooper.

He agrees to repay Regions $5.1 million and forfeit approximately $1.5 million he received from the scheme.

The other Regions banker, Richard Henderson, 57, is scheduled for trial on conspiracy, bank bribery, wire fraud affecting a financial institution and money laundering charges in June.

Jesse Ellis, 56, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit bank bribery and wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. He is scheduled for sentencing June 26.