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P R E S S   R E L E A S E

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 15, 2013


Former Northwest Arkansas Real Estate Developer Brandon Barber and Four Co-Defendants Arraigned for Charges of Fraud and Money Laundering

FAYETTEVILLE, ARóConner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Brandon Barber, age 37, of New York, and his four co-defendants appeared in United States District Court today for arraignment on various charges of bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering stemming from schemes to defraud involving several Northwest Arkansas real estate transactions and Barber's bankruptcy case. They appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Erin L. Setser in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and pleaded not guilty to all charges. Barber and co-defendants K. Vaughn Knight, age 46, of Fayetteville; James Van Doren, age 37, of New York; Jeff Whorton, age 45, of Johnson, Arkansas; and Brandon Rains, age 32, of Springdale, Arkansas, were indicted on January 16, 2013 and March 6, 2013, in two separate indictments. The defendants are scheduled for trial on June 17, 2013, before Chief United States District Judge P.K. Holmes, III.

The defendants have been released on bond pursuant to standard pre-trial conditions of release subject to a special condition prohibiting them from incurring any new financial debt. In addition, Barber is confined to home detention and subject to GPS monitoring.

The indictments allege several schemes to defraud banks, creditors, and the Federal Bankruptcy Court beginning in 2005 to 2009. Those schemes include: (1) Barber provided false and fraudulent financial information and statements to Legacy National Bank of Springdale in connection with loans to finance the Legacy Condominium building and project in Fayetteville; (2) Barber provided false and fraudulent financial information and statements to Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock and Enterprise Bank of St. Louis, Missouri, in connection with loans to finance the Bellafont project in Fayetteville; (3) Barber, Van Doren, and Knight concealed assets and income from creditors and the bankruptcy court by transferring Barber's funds to Van Doren and Knight or accounts controlled by them and using those funds for Barber's personal benefit and expenses; and (4) Barber, Whorton, and Rains falsely and fraudulently represented purchase prices for real estate to First Federal Bank of Harrison, Arkansas, to obtain loan amounts exceeding the actual purchase prices and thereby generating excess cash without the Bank's knowledge or approval.

This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. United States Attorney Conner Eldridge, First Assistant United States Attorney Wendy Johnson, and Assistant United States Attorneys Glen Hines and Benjamin Wulff are prosecuting the case for the United States.

The charges in an indictment are only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.


Source: United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Arkansas


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