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BREAKING NEWS – Hiers Found Guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud

FORMER BANK DIRECTOR CONVICTED OF CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT BANK FRAUD TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Jed Hiers, 50, of Bristol, Florida, was convicted today of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and nine counts of making false entries in bank records with the intent to deceive bank examiners. Hiers served as the president of C&L Bank of Bristol in the 1990s. After C&L was purchased by The Bank in 1999, Hiers continued to serve as president of the Bristol branch. In 2001, he was appointed to The Bank’s Board of Directors and promoted to the position of Florida Regional President. Evidence presented at trial established that between 1999 and 2004, Hiers conspired to make millions of dollars in loans and other extensions of credit to borrowers who he knew were unable to repay. Hiers hid the bad loans from bank management and federal examiners by falsifying customer financial information, using overdraft accounts to make payments on the borrowers’ existing loans, and using the proceeds from loans to third parties to make payments on the debts of insolvent bank customers. The government also presented evidence that Hiers had concealed the true financial picture of the bank from examiners and bank management by falsely representing that certain substandard loans had been sold to another financial institution, when, in fact, Hiers had entered separate buy-back agreements in which he agreed The Bank would repurchase the loans at the buyer’s request. In an examination begun shortly after Hiers’ employment with The Bank terminated, examiners classified more than $20 million in loans in the Florida region as losses. Hiers faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment for conspiracy and a maximum sentence of thirty years’ imprisonment on each of the nine false entry counts. United States Attorney Pamela Marsh praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, whose joint investigation led to the convictions in this case. “Mr. Heirs’ fraudulent actions caused The Bank to lose millions of dollars. As a bank officer, he not only violated the law, he violated the trust of the community. I am grateful for the tremendous efforts of the prosecutor and the case agents in this case, as well as for the resources committed by the agencies during a complicated investigation.” The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Rhew-Miller. Sentencing is set for February.

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