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Aug. 17 - Savannah RE Developer Sentenced in Fraud Investigation at First National Bank

Aug. 17, 2011 - Richard D. Guerard, 43, of Savannah, Georgia was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. at the U.S. Courthouse in Savannah, Georgia, to 52 months in prison in connection with a conspiracy to defraud over $2 million from the First National Bank, Savannah, Georgia, and other banks from 2007 to 2009.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, "Bank fraud is an epidemic that has hit Georgia especially hard. With 67 banks failing since 2008 - including First National Bank, the bank this defendant defrauded - Georgia ranks second in the nation. Prosecuting those who engage in bank fraud will continue to be a top priority for the United States Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice."

According to the evidence presented during the sentencing and guilty plea hearings, Guerard, a real estate developer acting on behalf of two businesses, entered into loan agreements with First National Bank and other banks for the purchase and development of areas within downtown Savannah. During a two year period, Guerard submitted dozens of bogus subcontractor invoices to First National Bank for work that had not been performed. As a result, Guerard fraudulently received well over $1 million in loan funds to which he was not entitled. Then, in an effort to prevent the loans from becoming delinquent, Guerard conspired with others, including employees of First National Bank, to fraudulently arrange over $1 million in nominee loans, the proceeds of which were not for the benefit of the borrowers, but for the benefit of Guerard and his coconspirators. In June of 2010, First National Bank became the first failed bank in the Savannah metro area.

In addition to his prison sentence, Guerard was ordered to pay $2,396,372.83 in restitution and to serve 3 years on supervised release upon his release from prison. There is no parole in the federal system.

This case is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the United States Secret Service, the FDIC Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Inspector General, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Office of Inspector General and the United States Attorney's Office. First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham is prosecuting the case for the United States.

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