Former bank CEO pleads guilty to fraud, money laundering

BUDE — A former bank executive has pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering.

U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis and FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen said Larry Barnette Hill, 58, of Meadville, entered the plea in federal court in Jackson.

Hill served as CEO of People’s Bank of the South in Bude. Prosecutors say from 2004 through 2012, Hill fraudulently withdrew money from the bank’s payroll clearing account and deposited those funds into the accounts of his family members and into a shell account he created.

Hill also used the bank’s credit card for personal expenses without the bank’s authorization, and took third-party checks issued in the bank’s name to make payments on a personal loan he held at another bank and to embezzle funds into other accounts he owned and controlled.

Authorities said he concealed his fraudulent activities by creating false ledger tickets, which appeared to be for bank expenses in order to hide the activity within the bank’s budget. He also falsely inflated the bank’s budget each month to disguise additional money he was embezzling.

The total amount of loss in this case is still being calculated, but is estimated to be from $600,000 to over $1 million, Davis and McMullen said in a statement.

The maximum penalty for bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, while money laundering carries up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

U.S. District Judge Tom Lee set sentencing for July 11.

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