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Jan. 19, 2012

Jury Convicts Camp County Man in Federal Bank Fraud Trial

MARSHALL, TXA 60-year-old Pittsburg, Texas man has been convicted for bank fraud in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales.

Lesley Carol Beene was convicted by a jury on Jan. 18, 2012, of bank fraud and making false statements to a bank following a two-day trial before U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap.

According to information presented in court, from Jan. 30, 2008, to Dec. 17, 2010, Beene devised a scheme to defraud Cypress Bank, in Pittsburg, Texas. Beene had been a customer of the bank for more than 20 years, and had built a relationship of trust with Cypress Bank. The evidence showed that Mr. Beene took advantage of the trust of the bank employees by making false statements and representations in an attempt to obtain a home equity loan and to actually obtain a loan.

On January 30, 2008, Mr. Beene applied for a $150,000 home equity loan on his four acre primary residence in Pittsburg, Texas. In this application, Beene fraudulently represented that his primary residence was worth $585,000, and he had no mortgage on this property. The evidence showed that Beene in fact owed more than $130,000 mortgage on his property which he did not disclose to the bank. The failure to disclose would have placed Cypress Bank at risk of financial loss or civil liability, because the amount of loan would have resulted in the loan being underfunded. On Aug. 4, 2008, Beene then applied and received an operating loan in the amount of $150,000. The purpose of this loan was to fund capital start-up for work Beene was to complete in Arkansas and Texas. Beene represented to Cypress Bank that he had a 2003 Kobleco SK 480 LC Excavator which he could pledge as collateral for the loan. Cypress Bank relied on the defendant's financial statements that he listed in his January 30, 2008, loan application and his assurance that he had the Excavator as collateral in deciding whether to approve this loan. Beene stopped making payments in 2009 on his loans and to this date has failed to produce the excavator. Beene was indicted by a federal grand jury on Mar. 2, 2011.

Beene faces up to 30 years in federal prison at sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set.

This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise O. Simpson.

Source: United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas

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