Former bank president indicted for bank fraud

Published 4:25 pm Thursday, February 26, 2009

Helen Harrison Phillips, former president of the First National Bank of Shelby County, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for bank fraud.

According to the indictment, Phillips’ housekeeper took out a $45,000 loan in October 2000, which Phillips used for her own personal gain, including paying the Internal Revenue Service $32,518. Prosecutors also allege Phillips arranged to pay off the loan to hide the scheme from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees the nation’s banking industry.

It is illegal for someone to borrow money that is actually meant for someone else, prosecutors said.

“A nominee loan is a loan in the name of one party that is intended for use by another. Federal banking regulations exist to protect banks and the general public from such loans,” said U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin. “Officers of banks insured with taxpayer dollars have a duty to comply with the applicable federal regulations and will be prosecuted criminally when they intentionally violate these regulations for their own benefit.”

If convicted, Phillips faces up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $1 million or both.