Thursday, March 31, 2011

ColonialPalooza: Fifth plea deal reached as Farkas goes to trial

image Days before Taylor Bean & Whitaker’s former CEO goes on trial on charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy, a fifth defendant in the case has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with investigators.

Bloomberg reports that Sean Ragland, a 37-year old employee of TBW’s finance and accounting department will appear today before District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in US District Court and plead guilty to his role in the scheme that brought down TBW and Colonial Bank.

Ragland joins four other executives—two from TBW and two from Colonial—in plea agreements for their testimony. Speaking after a hearing for one of those, the attorney for Farkas said that he too had been in discussions for a deal, but nothing had been formalized or agreed on.

Farkas also sought to delay the start of his trial to allow his attorney to better prepare his defense, claiming that the Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases involving the two financial giants had prevented his access to key evidence and other materials.

That request was denied by Judge Brinkema earlier this month, and jury selection in Farkas’ trial is expected to begin Monday morning.

Farkas and other conspirators were charged with committing wire, bank and securities fraud in a scheme to secure a half billion in TARP funds for Colonial BancGroup. The scheme was uncovered and the TARP funds were never delivered.

Regulators seized Colonial Bank in 2009 and Taylor Bean, once the 12th-largest mortgage lender, filed for bankruptcy. 

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