The former President of The Park Avenue Bank in Manhattan, Charles J. Antonucci, whose bank was closed by regulators last Friday, has been arrested and charged with engaging in bank bribery, wire fraud and embezzlement on the New York State Banking Department, FDIC and TARP, prosecutors said on Monday.
Mr. Antonucci, who was president of the bank from June 2004 to October 2009, engaged in several schemes to defraud the bank and its regulators. According to U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, the former Park Avenue Bank president was involved in self-dealing and obtaining illicit payments and benefits from bank customers — sometimes in exchange for inappropriate extensions of credit loans or loans to customers.
DJ: In one case, Antonucci engaged in a sham “round-trip” transactions designed to make it appear to bank regulators that he had invested about $6.5 million in the bank to improve its capital structure, but actually just took funds from the bank itself, prosecutors said.
Antonucci also allegedly made false statements and committed mail fraud in connection with an application by the bank for more than $11 million in TARP funds in 2008, using his purported $6.5 million investment as part of the basis for the application.
Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, and TARP’s Neil Barofsky are expected to discuss the arrest at a press conference at 1 p.m. EDT Monday. It is the first case of fraud against TARP, the emergency program enacted by U.S. regulators in 2008 to aid banks with liquidity problems.
The New York State Banking Department closed Park Avenue Bank on March 12 and appointed the FDIC as receiver. The privately-held bank had total assets of $520.1 million and total deposits of $494.5 million as of the end of 2009.