Fraud Friday – TARP Inspector General Criminalizes Another Bad Small Business Loan Decision

April 4, 2014

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report

indictmentfiledThe patent holder of a “pseudo adiabatic engine” was living the good life in Florida with his $169 million net worth.

What is a “pseudo adiabatic engine?” Well, it’s pretty cool technology. It will get you twice the fuel efficiency of any car gasoline engine on the market. Really!

Just the type of person you want as an investor if you are an Arkansas community banker.

But since you are reading “Fraud Friday,” you already know where this is going.

Instead of finding a investor, they get a borrower. The bank makes a $1.5 million line of credit to Alberto Solaroli.

I’m sure there was a good reason a Florida inventor with a sure thing and a multi-million net worth needed a line of credit from an Arkansas community bank.

Of course, in the first 30 days the entire line was tapped.

And never a payment was made says the Feds (see the indictment of Alberto Solaroli.)

Seems his net worth was tied up in a penny stock… which ended up being worth, I’ll let you fill in the blank, __________.

But this complicated, alleged, fraud draws more into the mix.

An Arkansas community banker was tasked with cleaning up this mess. Seems a $1.5 million hit to the bottom line would jeopardize the $17 million in TARP funds they were counting on.

Gary Rickenbach was a senior vice president of Onebanc until February 2013. The indictment charges that he conspired with his fellow bankers to make false loans for the purpose of hiding the bank’s loss on a $1.5 million bad loan made in April 2007. The bad loan became uncollectable in 2008, and beginning in 2009, Rickenbach and the gang hid the loss from federal examiners by making loans to entities that he created or controlled. The new loans made by Rickenbach made Onebanc appear to federal examiners to have fewer financial problems than was true.

“Rather than deal with the reality of having made a $1.5 million bad loan that couldn’t be collected, Rickenbach, a senior loan executive at Onebanc, and others, in early 2009, allegedly attempted to hide the loss from non-bank board members and federal regulators in order to conceal the bank’s true financial condition, and Rickenbach looked to TARP money to fund his fraud. Later, when bank executives worried that the bank’s initial October 2008 request for $10 million in taxpayer TARP funds wouldn’t be enough to improve the bank’s capital position, they increased their request to $17.3 million, which the bank received in June 2009,” says SIGTARP.

“Defrauding the federal government and taxpayers out of their hard-earned TARP investments is criminal, morally bankrupt, and won’t be tolerated, and SIGTARP and our law enforcement partners will aggressively investigate all allegations of fraud related to TARP and bring perpetrators to justice.”” sermonizes SIGTARP.

Yesterday’s indictment of Rickenbach means he faces the obligatory 25 years in jail and a $750,000 fine.

Read more about this mess here.

Read the Indictment