Bloomberg News

Ex-FirstCity Chief Conner Pleads Guilty to Bilking Bank

October 21, 2011

(Updates with possible sentence in second paragraph.)

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The former chief executive officer of Georgia’s failed FirstCity Bank admitted to conspiring to deceive his own bank into lending him millions of dollars.

Mark A. Conner, the former CEO, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and perjury today before U.S. District Judge Steve Jones in Atlanta federal court. Under a plea agreement subject to a judge’s approval, Conner, 45, faces a prison term of 12 years and must forfeit $7 million dollars. Sentencing was set for January.

Federal authorities arrested Conner on March 20 as he arrived in Miami from the Turks and Caicos Islands, according to a statement from prosecutors at the time. An indictment against him was unsealed a day later. Conner was accused of investing in real estate ventures using money he obtained from his own and other banks under false pretenses. He was also charged with lying about his assets in a bankruptcy filing.

Conner hid his identity from officials at Stockbridge, Georgia-based FirstCity using false credit memos and lied about terms and purposes of the loans, prosecutors said. He and his co-conspirators submitted those records to other banks participating in the loans, the government charged.

Conner and Clayton Coe, the bank’s senior commercial loan officer, sought $6.1 million from the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program and were rejected. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over FirstCity in March 2009, according to the indictment.

The case is U.S. v. Conner, 11-CR-121, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta).

--Editors: Andrew Dunn, Glenn Holdcraft

To contact the reporters on this story: David Beasley in Atlanta at dbeasley3@bloomberg.net; Laurence Viele Davidson in Atlanta at lviele@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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