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Colorado Man Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud

The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) announced Christopher Tumbaga of Colorado Springs, Colorado pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of illegally receiving kickbacks for procuring loans.

The release noted, "The charges stem from Tumbaga's involvement in a two-year long scheme to defraud TARP-recipient Colorado East Bank & Trust of Lamar, Colo., out of approximately $1.2 million."

Tumbaga was employed as a loan officer at the aforementioned bank, and obtained 14 loans and misapplied funds from a line of credit. The loans were funneled to a high school friend, co-defendant Brian Headle, who also stands charged in the scheme.

Court documents cited that Tumbaga in March, 2009, was contacted by Headle to discuss securing a loan or line of credit from Colorado East Bank to finance Headle's real estate business. Tumbaga secured a line of credit for Headle for $250,000 based on allegedly false financial information. The two formed a partnership, with Tumbaga securing the fraudulent loans, and receiving kickbacks from Headle financed by profits from his real estate business.

After using Headle's name and his companies names to secure loans, Tumbaga obtained loans in multiple other names, including Headle's wife, parents, and step-parent. When approval was needed from the bank's president, Tumbaga forged the president's signature.

In one instance, Tumbaga withdrew $100,000 from a bank customer's line of credit without the knowledge of the customer, and wired the money to Headle.

Over the course of the scheme, Tumbaga obtained approximately $1.2 million from Colorado East, and purportedly received more than $60,000 in kickbacks.

"After Colorado East Bank & Trust received $10 million in TARP funds, bank loan officer Christopher Tumbaga treated the  federal taxpayer support as nothing more than Monopoly money to shower upon friend Brian Headle," said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP.

She continued, "TARP was designed to bring stability and confidence to the nation's financial system during a time of severe economic crisis, not to serve as a conduit for fraud to bail out buddies of the bank."

About Author: Colin Robins

Colin Robins is the online editor for DSNews.com. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts from the University of Texas, Dallas. Additionally, he contributes to the MReport, DS News' sister site.

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