The former president and chief executive of Gateway Bank in Oakland, Calif., has been accused of orchestrating a fraud scheme to disguise the bank's crumbling financial condition.
Poppi Metaxas is charged with bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy and perjury, according to a Wednesday press release from the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The Inspector General is involved in the case because the $212 million-asset Gateway applied to receive funding from the Tarp program. Metaxas was arraigned in a San Francisco federal court on Wednesday.
In 2009, Metaxas allegedly spearheaded a scheme to receive Tarp funds by convincing the bank's regulators that it had sold toxic mortgage loans to outside investors for $15 million. In fact, prosecutors say that Gateway self-funded the sale by making a sham loan to a now-defunct mortgage lending client: Ideal Mortgage Bankers, which did business as Lend America. Lend America then passed the money on to three investors purporting to purchase the troubled mortgage loans, which in turn gave the money back to Gateway as a $3.64 million down payment on the sale.
"To conceal the fraudulent 'round trip' of the loan funds, in October 2009, Metaxas provided false testimony to the Office of Thrift Supervision when she was asked about the source of the down payment," the release says.
Metaxas' trial date has not yet been set. She will be tried in the Brooklyn U.S. District Court.
Sarah Todd is a news reporter at American Banker.
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