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An Open Apology

By Staff | Nov 27, 2015

Letter to the editor:

My Name is Richard L. Jones. I grew up on an Iowa farm and have lived in Iowa all my life. I was employed in the banking industry in Iowa for almost 30 years. Much of my time in the banking industry was in the agricultural loan industry, which involved extending credit to local Iowa farmers for equipment and operating expenses.

My banking career came to an end in April, 2010 after agricultural loans I made as an officer of the northwest Iowa bank where I worked were discovered by an outside auditor. The loans were made under false pretenses. Although the loan proceeds in fact went to borrowers whose credit was bad, I made the loans in my name only to other third parties to obscure where the money was really going. Those third parties often did not even know their names were being used to borrow money. What I did was a crime.

In 2002-03, following examinations by federal and state regulatory agencies including the State Department of Banking and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the eligibility and creditworthiness of a total of four of the bank’s borrowers, connected to two unrelated agricultural businesses, were classified as being sub-standard as a result of financial hardships suffered by those potential borrowers. That subjected them to approval by the bank’s board of directors for any additional advances of credit. In order to circumvent these findings and provide agricultural loans to these farmers, over the course of the next six-plus years I made numerous “straw loans” for the benefit of these classified borrowers, without obtaining board of director approval. These actions were in violation of banking regulations and the federal criminal law because I was providing false information to the bank board for loan making and approval decisions. I lied repeatedly to my employer and fellow employees to make these “straw loans”, and I forged people’s signatures for the same purpose.

The consequences of my actions and poor decisions have been severe.

The FDIC fined me $35,000 and I have been declared ineligible, for the rest of my life, to work or have any ownership at any FDIC-insured financial institution. More significantly, I have also been prosecuted criminally. I was indicted by a federal grand jury in March, 2015 and I have since pled guilty to the felony crime of bank fraud in federal court. I will be sentenced to prison.

I take full and complete responsibility for my actions. I took advantage of the trust of the bank management and bank board of directors. I caused the bank to lose a six-figure sum. I now realize the negative impact my criminal activity had on the bank and the people who have worked there. I want to apologize sincerely and fully to all of those people.

(signed)?Richard L. Jones

Emmetsburg, IA