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Ex-bank president in Texas gets 8 years for fake loans, arson to try to cover up fraud

A former Texas bank president who issued millions of dollars in fake loans over almost a decade and set a fire to try to cover up the fraud was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday, prosecutors said.

The woman, Anita Gail Moody, 57, pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and arson.

She was ordered to pay more than $11 million in restitution, which is what Enloe State Bank, which she ran, lost, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas said.

Moody was president of the bank in Cooper, around 80 miles northeast of Dallas, and the fraud she pleaded guilty to began in 2012.

In May 2019 — a day before the Texas Banking Department was scheduled to conduct a review — Moody set a fire in the bank boardroom with files left on a table, all of which were burned, according to prosecutors.

She had created more than 100 fraudulent loans over the years, prosecutors said in court documents.

She used some of the money on her boyfriend’s and friends’ businesses, for family and for her own lifestyle, including a Jeep. Other federal investigators said some of the loans were taken out to pay the interest and principal on the others, so nothing would seem amiss.

Moody “has experienced great remorse over these events and takes full responsibility for her actions,” her attorney, John C. Ginn, said in an email Tuesday night.

“She is ready to serve her sentence and will make amends as circumstances allow in the future,” he said.

Ginn argued in court documents that Moody worked for the bank her whole adult life and described a life spiraling out of control, adding that she first lent the money out of sympathy but in 2012 started using the loans for herself.

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Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei said in a statement, “Criminal conduct that affects the financial health of a small, local lender can send a negative ripple effect throughout the entire community.”

The state Banking Department closed the bank, which had been chartered in 1928, in 2019. At the time, the department said it was forced to close it “due to insider abuse and fraud by former officers.”

A former bank vice president, Jeannie Swaim, pleaded guilty last year to a single count and was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay more than $410,000 in restitution, according to the U.S. attorney’s office and court records.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits, was appointed as receiver after the bank failed. The loss to the agency’s deposit insurance fund was around $21 million, an inspector general’s report said.

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