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Ex-First NBC Bank general counsel charged for alleged fraud

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana charged former New Orleans-based First NBC Bank general counsel Gregory St. Angelo for allegedly defrauding the bank, which failed in 2017.

St. Angelo and his co-conspirators are accused of defrauding First NBC Bank in order to unjustly enrich themselves. They allegedly concealed the accurate performance of loans made by the bank and misrepresented payments to St. Angelo and some of the businesses he controlled.

The co-conspirators referenced in the court documents include President and CEO Ashton Ryan and former Chief Credit Officer Bill Burnell, The New Orleans Advocate reported March 22.

The co-conspirators are accused of providing fraudulent documents overstating the value of St. Angelo's and his businesses' assets and understated their liabilities, issuing new loans to make it appear that St. Angelo had paid off the older loans and overdrafts and diverting the bank's funds to make it appear the loans and overdrafts were paid. The alleged diversion of these funds was covered up by making it appear that First NBC Bank paid tax credit investments to St. Angelo and some of his businesses.

First NBC Bank had advanced about $46 million to St. Angelo and his businesses and had paid $9.6 million in fraudulent tax credit investments by April 28, 2017, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. If found guilty, St. Angelo could face up to 30 years in prison, a fine of more than $1 million — or twice his gross gain or the gross loss of the victims — five years of supervised release and a special assessment of $100.

Phil Wittmann, St. Angelo's lawyer, told The New Orleans Advocate that his client is cooperating with the investigation and declined to give further comment. Ryan and Burnell, through their lawyers, told the publication they deny any wrongdoing on the matter.