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Kentucky Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Bribing Executives at TARP Applicant Bank

SIGTARP Kentucky FraudA Kentucky man has pleaded guilty for his role in a massive tax scheme and for bribing executives at a Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) applicant bank, according to an announcement from Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP).

Wilbur Anthony Huff, 53, of Caneyville and Louisville, Kentucky, offered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on December 23, 2014, and he is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8. Huff pleaded guilty to one count of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws; one count of aiding and assisting with the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent tax returns; one out of failing and causing the failure to pay taxes to the IRS; and one count of conspiracy to (a) commit bank bribery, (b) commit fraud on bank regulators, and (c) fraudulently purchase an Oklahoma insurance company. The charges carry a combined total of up to 12 years in prison.

Huff also agreed to pay $10.8 million to the U.S. and provide restitution totaling more than $128 million to the four institutions which he pleaded guilty to defrauding, which include the IRS ($53.1 million) and the FDIC ($4.8 million).

Romero made the announcement along with Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; and David A. Hubbert, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

"Huff, a Kentucky businessman, pleaded guilty to conspiring with senior executives at TARP applicant Park Avenue Bank to bribe those officials and to commit bank fraud in an illicit scheme to make the bank appear better capitalized in order to seek $11 million in TARP bailout funds," Romero said. "Huff conspired with Park Avenue Bank president and CEO Charles Antonucci and others to orchestrate a $6.5 million fraudulent ‘round trip’ financial transaction, essentially a shell game designed to disguise the bank’s own money as new money purportedly being invested by an outside source into the bank. Bank president and CEO Antonucci pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme in October 2010 and was the first person convicted of attempting to steal from TARP. We commend U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and our law enforcement partners for their steadfast commitment to protecting federal taxpayers and bringing to justice perpetrators of fraud and other crimes related to TARP."

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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