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If you are not familiar with the C3 Asheville scandal, please update yourself with our articles here:
C3 Asheville Scandal – C3 Pastor Facing Prison (Part 1)
C3 Asheville Scandal – C3 Pastor “Pleads Guilty In Bank Fraud Case” (Part 2)
C3 Asheville Scandal – Sweetmans Do Nothing Against Fraudulent C3 Pastor? (Part 3)
C3 Asheville Scandal – Four “People… Have Pleaded Guilty” Including “[C3] Minister… Nicholas Dimitris” (Part 4)
C3 Asheville Scandal – C3 ‘Pastor’ Nick Dimitris: The Liar (Part 5)
C3 Asheville Scandal – Massive Financial Judgment Against C3 Asheville Pastor Nick Dimitris (Part 6)
A few years ago Nick Dimitris stated,
“Emily and I want to update you on some news about our family and the circumstances that has arisen. Over two years ago we purchased property from some folks who are currently under a federal investigation in pursuit for multiple proprieties. These individuals and the bank that provided the financing were allegedly involved in illegal behaviour.
Although we had no knowledge of their misbehaviour, we’ve been required to participate with the federal government in this case since we were the buyers. This has put us in a very difficult position and cooperation was not an option in the matter. Our testimony now is a very critical part of the case against these individuals.
You may have seen information about this in the media. And if so, please realise that the media is very good at misconstruing facts, which is misleading at best. Nevertheless, it sells papers. We cannot control what the media does or how they represent the circumstance. But let me assure you church, the facts of the matter have been given to our overseers and a team of leaders within the church.”
Moving along, the Citizen-Times reports,
ASHEVILLE — Three men were sentenced to federal prison Tuesday for their roles in an elaborate scheme to obtain more than $23 million in illegal loans to forestall failure of the bankrupt Seven Falls development.
Robert Craig Gourlay, David G. Smith and Nicholas Dimitris conspired with developer Keith Vinson in a case that Judge Martin Reidinger described at the hearing as “a scourge on this community.”
“This is a case where the concerted actions of a few people brought down two banks,” the judge said in U.S. District Court in Asheville. “Not only was it serious wrongdoing, it was very harmful wrongdoing.”
Reidinger sentenced Gourlay, chief credit officer at Pisgah Community Bank, to 15 months in prison. Smith, a loan officer with the bank, received nine months. Dimitris, a minister and real estate investor, got 12 months.
Seven Falls filed for bankruptcy in 2009. The luxury development was planned to accommodate 900 homes and an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course on 1,400 acres, potentially adding $1.25 billion to Henderson County’s tax base.
Prosecutors said Vinson had “straw borrowers” take out illegal loans to buy lots in hopes of preventing foreclosure. Vinson was unable to borrow more money because of rules designed to limit banks’ exposure to any one borrower.
Gourlay and Smith authorized loans involving millions of dollars to straw borrowers, while Dimitris served as such a borrower on loans made by the bank, receiving kickbacks in return, according to criminal complaints filed in 2011.
The three are among 10 codefendants who reached plea deals with prosecutors, leaving only Vinson to stand trial. He was convicted by a jury last month on all 13 counts he was charged with, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, misapplication of bank funds, wire fraud and money laundering.
Reidinger ordered Vinson held without bond until sentencing. He faces up to 30 years in prison, according to prosecutors.
The judge said that in sentencing of Gourlay, Smith and Dimitris, he took into account their cooperation with the government in the case against Vinson. Gourlay and Dimitris testified at the trial.
But Reidinger pointed out that Bank of Asheville and Pisgah Community Bank failed as a result of the scheme. Such crimes serve to undermine the banking system, he said.
“When citizens don’t have confidence in the banking system, the economy collapses,” the judge said.
Prosecutors said Vinson began Seven Falls with a $25 million bank loan to be repaid with money from the sale of lots. He ran out of money in 2008, when the economy tanked and sales dried up. That’s when Vinson and his fellow conspirators came up with a “lot loan scheme” involving straw borrowers.
Former Bank of Asheville President George Gordon “Buddy” Greenwood pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges and was sentenced in May 2012 to four years in federal prison. According to court records, Greenwood was involved in illegal loans to Vinson totaling nearly $6.8 million.
Vinson and six other codefendants, including former Pisgah Community Bank President Thomas “Ted” Durham Jr., await sentencing.
Source: Clarke Morrison, 3 get prison in Seven Falls case – Three men get terms for conspiring with Vinson in loan scheme, http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20131127/NEWS01/311270022/3-get-prison-Seven-Falls-case?nclick_check=1, 26/11/2013. (Accessed 27/11/2013.)