(Source: Tim McGlone The Virginian-Pilot (MCT) — T. Brandon Woodard, one of the former executives charged in the Bank of the Commonwealth fraud case, claims the federal government has yet to present any evidence directly linking him to the crimes alleged in the recently filed 25-count indictment.
Woodard, whose father ran the bank for nearly 40 years and is also under indictment, is demanding that the government release the evidence it has against him, according to a motion his attorney filed in the case.
The government counters that Woodard has been provided 1.5 million pages of documents. The evidence is in there, including an allegation that Woodard removed evidence from his computer, says the government’s motion seeking to quash Woodard’s request.
Woodard’s filing is the first time any of the six men charged has indicated what his defense might be.
“The indictment articulates only generalized, conclusory allegations,” Woodard’s motion says. “The government fails to allege what acts, if any, were undertaken by this specific defendant.”
The indictment also incorrectly lists Woodard’s job title, the court papers say.
Woodard and his father, Edward J. Woodard Jr., were indicted last month along with four others in what federal prosecutors say was a massive bank fraud scheme that led to the collapse of Bank of the Commonwealth.
Federal and state regulators shut down the bank in the fall after it posted more than $150 million in losses in recent years and failed to abide by strict lending rules instituted in 2010. The loss to taxpayers as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. sorts out the mess has been estimated at $267 million.
At the same time, a federal grand jury had been investigating bank executives and their favored borrowers. The indictment, issued July 11, charges the two Woodards and two other bank executives with conspiring with certain customers to defraud the bank through illegal lending practices.
Brandon Woodard, as he is known, was employed by a bank subsidiary as a vice president and mortgage loan specialist until he was terminated in January 2011, days after his father was forced to retire.
He faces five counts in the indictment – single counts of conspiracy and bank fraud and three counts of unlawful participation in a loan.
The conspiracy count alleges that he received more than $370,000 in compensation in a three-year period until he was fired and that part of the compensation came from commissions on loans he did not generate and credit for loans from other bank employees’ portfolios, the indictment says.
He also is accused of illegally benefiting from nearly $1 million in loans that his father approved for clients Eric Menden and George Hranowskyj, one-time business partners who borrowed heavily from the bank. The indictment says Brandon Woodard received an illegal $15,000 payment from the partners.
The indictment also accuses Brandon Woodard of taking $81,000 in bank money for his personal use when it was supposed to be used to construct the bank’s Suffolk branch.
His attorney, Jeremiah Denton III, writes in the motion that the government has so far provided no factual basis for the allegations. The motion also challenges the “factual basis for asserting” that Brandon Woodard, as a vice president for a mortgage subsidiary of Bank of the Commonwealth, was an employee, officer, director or agent of the bank.
Denton and Woodard say in their motion that they need more information “to minimize the danger of surprise at trial.”
Denton declined to comment beyond what is in the court filing. The trial is set for Jan. 8.
Federal prosecutors countered that Brandon Woodard has already received documents that support the evidence against him, including emails and recorded phone calls.
They also noted evidence that on the day Brandon Woodard was fired – Jan. 3, 2011 – he left his office with his bank-issued laptop computer and the next day deleted its contents, according to the government’s court filing.
When confronted with this evidence, Brandon Woodard produced for investigators a hard drive “that appears to contain” all the deleted data, the government said.
The judge in U.S. District Court hearing the case has not yet ruled on the matter.
Tim McGlone, 757-446-2343, firstname.lastname@example.org
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