Two get federal prison terms for bank fraud of $4.2 million

Becky Campbell • Jun 13, 2012 at 10:04 PM

A former Johnson City man now living in Bluff City was sentenced along with a Bristol woman on bank fraud convictions and each will spend 46 months in prison in a case that cost a local bank $4.2 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Greeneville.

Tommy Eugene Blair, 61, of Bluff City, and Tina Rogers, 44, of Bristol, were each sentenced to serve 46 months — three years, eight months — in prison for federal bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy and perjury.

The two were convicted of these charges in U.S. District Court in Greeneville, in August.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Blair and Rogers concocted a plan to sell another man, Sam Clark, a car wash business in Johnson City.

Clark financed the purchase through TruPoint Bank. Rogers acted as the broker for the loan on behalf of Clark. Blair, Clark and Rogers inflated the sales price from $3.4 million to $4.2 million and submitted fake earnest money checks totaling $465,000.

Their plan also included documents that “grossly overstated the properties’ ability to service the debt, and falsely represented that Blair provided seller financing of $210,000 via a false promissory note.”

When the loan closed, Blair paid Clark a kickback of $125,000, which was not disclosed to the lending bank. Clark defaulted on the loan within two months after getting the loan. TruPoint Bank incurred a loss for sentencing purposes of $2.7 million and incurred an actual loss of $4.2 million.

“During sentencing, Judge Ronnie Greer noted that both Blair and Rogers used sophisticated means to defraud the bank and that both knowingly remained silent during the loan closing when the terms of the deal were reviewed by the closing attorney,” said Sharry Dedman-Beard, spokeswoman for the government.

“He cited the numerous false documents which they generated or signed and submitted to the bank in support of the loan. He also stated the need for a sentence to deter others from fraudulent conduct on financial institutions, which are vital to the nation’s economy,” Dedman-Beard said.

The FBI conducted the investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Smith represented the United States during the litigation.

After Blair and Rogers finish their prison sentences, they must pay restitution to TruPoint Bank and $300 each in special assessments. They must also serve three years on supervised release.

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