Initial Charges Filed by Task Force Investigating Banks and Thrifts
DALLAS (AP) _ Charges of financial wrongdoing against five businessmen were the opening salvo in a broad federal investigation into fraud and corruption at Texas’ ailing banks and thrift institutions, officials said.
Four of the five either pleaded guilty or agreed to enter guilty pleas and cooperate with the investigation, U.S. Attorney Marvin Collins said Monday.
″We’re now seeing the first results of this investigative effort,″ Collins said. ″We’re hopeful this early success tends to cause others who are under investigation to decide what they are going to do.″
More than 50 agents and attorneys from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Justice, U.S. attorney’s office and Federal Home Loan Bank Board are involved in the investigation, which began last fall.
The task force represents the largest commitment of human resources and money ever to investigate white-collar crime in the Southwest, said Bobby Gillham, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas division.
Officials refused to say how many people are under investigation, but confirmed they are looking into irregularities at 25 thrifts and 10 banks in Texas. The investigation is expected to last three years, Collins said.
Three of the five men charged during the past week were cited in connection with an alleged 1983 loan kickback scheme at the State Savings and Loan Association of Lubbock.
Thrift owner Tyrell G. Barker agreed to enter a guilty plea to a charge of misapplication of funds in the scheme through which he received a $100,000 kickback on a $2 million loan, Collins said.
Former real estate broker Larry K. Thompson pleaded guilty on charges of misapplication of funds, and former broker Donald W. Nahrwold faces a three- count indictment alleging conspiracy, aiding and abetting misapplication of funds and making false statements to federal regulators.
John G. Smith, former Vernon Savings and Loan senior executive vice president, agreed to plead guilty to making a false statement on a quarterly report to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Collins said.
The fifth charge was against former Commerce Bank of Plano chief executive officer Sam Thomas III, who pleaded guilty to misrepresenting the financial condition of his bank.
All three financial institutions have failed, but officials said they could not link the failures directly to the alleged irregular activity.
Gillham said the scope of the task force’s operation dwarfs an ongoing fraud investigation involving the management of condominium complexes under construction in the suburbs.
More than 95 indictments have been returned in that investigation and more are pending, Gillham said.