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Colorado Men Sentenced for Role in TARP Fraud

white-collar-crimeTwo Colorado men were sentenced to federal prison time and ordered to pay more than $1 million each in restitution for their roles in scheme to defraud a Colorado bank that was a recipient of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds, the Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP), Christy Romero, and U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh announced recently.

Christopher Tumbaga, 37, and Brian Headle, 38, each received a sentence of three years in federal prison and four years of supervised release, and each was ordered to pay $1,055,918 in restitution to the government for a fraud scheme perpetrated against Colorado East Bank & Trust, Romero said.

Court documents state that in March 2009, Headle contacted Tumbaga, a high school friend who was employed as a loan officer at Colorado East at the time, about securing a line of credit to finance Headle's real estate development business. Based on allegedly false financial information Headle provided that Tumbaga intentionally failed to verify, Tumbaga then secured a line of credit worth $250,000 for Headle. The two men then formed a partnership in which Tumbaga agreed to secure fraudulent loans for Headle, and in return, he would receive kickbacks financed by profits from Headle's real estate company.

Court records show that between approximately March 2009 to July 2011, Tumbaga obtained at least 14 such loans for Headle.

"While taxpayers bailed out Colorado East bank with $10 million in TARP bailout funds, bank loan officer Tumbaga chose to break the law, actively scheming with high school pal Headle to defraud the bank out of $1 million in loans," Romero said. "This crime could not have happened without a bank gatekeeper like Tumbaga, who opened the door to Headle while taxpayers ended up losing $2 million on their TARP investment."

The two men were indicted for their role in the scam in September 2013. Tumbaga pleaded guilty in March 2014 to charges of bank fraud and illegally receiving kickbacks and was sentenced on September 30. Headle pleaded guilty to charges of corruptly influencing a bank officer in June 2014 and was sentenced on October 3, 2014. The men were sentenced by U.S. District Judge William J. Martinez.

"The TARP program was designed to protect our economy by protecting banking institutions from fraud," Walsh said. "When an officer of a bank defrauds that institution, we will aggressively prosecute and seek to incarcerate those responsible."

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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