Former bank president convicted of fraud

U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance today announced Helen Harrison Phillips, former president of the First National Bank of Shelby County, has been convicted of two counts of bank fraud and one count of obstructing a bank examination.

On each bank fraud count, Phillips faces imprisonment of up to 30 years, a fine of up to $1 million, or both. For the count of obstructing a bank examination, she faces imprisonment of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

Phillips is scheduled to be sentenced in 90 days.

FBI agent Patrick J. Maley, who was in charge of the agency’s investigation, said anyone who commits bank fraud should expect an investigation.

“Citizens should expect bank executives to uphold the highest ethical conduct and not steal from the depositors for personal gain,” Maley said. “Those who violate that trust should expect to be held accountable for their actions.”

In October 2000, Phillips used her housekeeper to get a loan for $45,000, which was used for personal purposes, including paying $32,518 to the Internal Revenue Service. 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 a bank officer to take out loans in the name of one party that is intended for use by another.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency investigated the matter.