July 22, 2016

Fraud Friday — The Boys and their Toys, Community Banker CEO Style

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Fraud Friday

airstreamIt’s a nice list of toys. Corvettes, SUVs, some really nice RV’s, a Kibbi trailer and a “Classic” trailer — hope he had at least some sense and got an Airstream.

Former Wisconsin-based Farmers Exchange Bank CEO Geffrey Sawtell convinced someone in the bank to buy this stuff that he took home. He also booked five-straw buyer loans for more toys. Allegedly of course.

But, toys are expensive. No problem for Geff. The US Attorney says, “Counts Six through Fourteen allege that Mr. Sawtelle repeatedly awarded himself fraudulent bonuses that were not approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors.”

“Count Twenty-Two alleges that Mr. Sawtelle embezzled the proceeds of the sale of a 2002 Corvette, which Mr. Sawtelle had previously purchased and expensed to the Bank. Count Twenty-Three charges that Mr. Sawtelle transferred $20,000 from the Bank’s general ledger to his own checking account. Finally, Counts Twenty-Four and Twenty-Five allege that Mr. Sawtelle obstructed the examinations of Farmers Exchange Bank by the FDIC.”

62-year old Sawtelle faces the obligatory hundreds of years in jail and millions of dollars in fines.