Ex-head of New York bank sentenced to two-and-a-half years prison for TARP fraud

Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:59pm EDT
 
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By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former president of a failed New York bank was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison on Thursday after becoming the first person to be convicted for trying to defraud the U.S. government bailout program established during the financial crisis.

Charles Antonucci, Park Avenue Bank's former president, was ordered to serve prison time by U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald despite cooperating with authorities, who ultimately charged three other people.

"Even today I have not heard an excuse or explanation for this serious conduct," Buchwald said. "The only one that comes to mind is greed."

Antonucci apologized in Manhattan federal court "to those who were harmed by my actions." The judge ordered him to forfeit $11.2 million and pay $54.6 million in restitution.

Antonucci's guilty plea in 2010 to charges including securities fraud was in the first case involving a fraud tied to the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the initially $700 billion bank bailout program to help deal with the 2008 crisis.

Privately-held Park Avenue Bank had $520 million in assets when in March 2010 the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp took it into receivership, selling its deposits to Valley National Bancorp VLY.N.

Antonnucci, 64, was arrested three days later as authorities accused him of engaging in illegal activities leading to the bank's demise.

Prosecutors said Antonucci misled regulators who had been concerned about the bank's capital levels into believing he was investing $6.5 million in it.   Continued...

 
Former president of Park Avenue Bank, Charles Antonucci, leaves the U.S. Court after being sentenced in New York, August 20, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson