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Jurors Hear Tape of Defendant’s Promise to Reopen Bank With $1 Billion

October 29, 1986

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ A man accused of using a closed bank to commit fraud told residents of a small town that he would make ″a thousand million dollars″ available for their bank to reopen, according to a tape played to jurors.

″There is considerably more where that came from. The Boyd bank is going to operate unlike any other bank on Earth,″ a man identified by a prosecution witness as Jonathan May said on the tape played Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

May is charged in an eight-count indictment with defrauding people in several states and British Columbia.

During the summer, May allegedly told residents of Boyd, a western Minnesota town of about 320 people, that he would reopen the State Bank of Boyd with $1.25 billion in assets from 700 international trusts to which he said he had access. The indictment alleges that he identified himself as the administrator for a $152 billion trust established by King Charles I of England in 1647.

The tape introduced Tuesday was made by Craig Hermanson, a Boyd farmer and former vice president of the closed bank. Hermanson said he made the tape at a June 20 meeting May held with Boyd residents.

May promised area farmers loans at a 0.575 interest rate, according to the tape, and offered to pay borrowers’ medical and dental bills the first year the bank was reopened.

″We are deliberately being incredibly generous to get the world’s attention to what we’re doing,″ May said on the tape.

The indictment alleges that after making the promises, he had 1,000 cashier’s checks printed on the defunct bank’s name. May then allegedly dispensed the checks around the country to purchase goods and services including a $47,000 BMW automobile, a $54,500 Porsche automobile, and $10,330 in computer equipment.

He was arrested July 3 in Georgia.

May, 37, has pleaded innocent to four counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and three counts of interstate transportation of forged or counterfeit securities.

″John May is a man who had a vision, a vision to help others who had been beaten down by debt and by interest payments,″ defense attorney Scott Tilsen said in his opening arguments Tuesday. ″He is not a perfect man, but he is not a thief.″

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