Activity at Higginsville Business Leads to Guilty Pleas in Federal Court

| December 27, 2012 | 6:06 pm
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A Mayview woman entered a guilty plea in federal court today on a felony charge related to bank fraud when she worked as a bookkeeper for a defunct Higginsville body. Shop.   Brandi Dukes, 31, has admitted that she learned in 2010 that her husband,Clint Dukes, 35, committed bank fraud by submitting false documentation to several banks in order to obtain loans. This included banks that received funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.   He reportedly claimed to have contract with the State of Missouri for car repair work and sent fraudulent invoices to the banks.  She acknowledged that she hid this fact by making a disbursement request and authorization in July in an amount of nearly $400,000.  Brandi Dukes will be scheduled at a later day.  Clint Dukes entered a guilty plea in November to the crimes.

Press Release:

David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced the bookkeeper for a defunct Higginsville, Mo., body shop pleaded guilty in federal court today to misprision of a felony related to a bank fraud.
“This fraud scheme involved two banks that received funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP,” Ketchmark said. “TARP was designed to help financial institutions recover from the economic downturn, not to provide a cash cow that dishonest business owners could plunder. We will hold those accountable who steal from public funds.”
Brandi Michelle Dukes, 31, of Mayview, Mo., waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to a federal information that charges her with misprision of a felony.
Brandi Dukes is the second defendant to plead guilty as a result of the fraud. Clint Edward Dukes, 35, of Mayview, Mo., Brandi’s former husband, pleaded guilty in November to a federal information charging him with bank fraud.
By pleading guilty, Brandi Dukes admitted that she learned in 2010 that her husband had committed bank fraud by submitting false documentation to several banks in order to obtain loans. Brandi Dukes further admitted that she concealed this activity by executing a disbursement request and authorization, on July 19, 2010, in the amount of $397,329.00, to the First Community Bank (First Community Bancshares, Inc. of Overland Park, Kan.). These false documents resulted in a loss of $14,181.04 to First Community Bank.
Clint Dukes was the owner of Dukes Auto Repair in Higginsville from 2004 to 2011. As a result of his guilty plea, Clint Dukes admitted that he engaged in a scheme to defraud First Community Bank, US Bank and First Central Bank from March 2004 to July 2011. In order to obtain approximately $2.8 million in loans from these banks, Dukes falsely claimed to have contracts with the state of Missouri for car repair work and submitted fraudulent invoices to the banks. Dukes filed false financial disclosure statements with these banks to conceal the fact that he used loans from each bank to extinguish previous loans made from the other banks.
First Community Bank and US Bank received funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.
On May 19, 2009, the parent company of First Community Bank received $14.8 million through TARP. As of Sept. 30, 2012, the $14.8 million taxpayer investment in the bank remained outstanding, and the bank had missed 10 additional dividend and interest payments totaling more than $2 million. On Nov. 14, 2008, the parent company of U.S. Bank (U.S. Bancorp of Minneapolis, Minn.) received nearly $6.6 billion in TARP funds. The bank repaid the funds in full on June 17, 2009.
“Brandi Dukes, fully aware of her husband’s fraud which cost three banks more than $2 million, was bookkeeper for her husband’s business and helped conceal the crime,” said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP). “Two of the banks defrauded were TARP banks, one delinquent on its TARP dividends in that same amount. If you know of TARP fraud and help conceal it, you’re going to be held accountable for your role and brought to justice by SIGTARP and our law enforcement partners.”
Under federal statutes, Brandi Dukes is subject to a sentence of up to 3 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution in the amount of $14,181.84. As a result of his November guilty plea, Clint Dukes is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled for the defendants after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William L. Meiners and Lafayette County Prosecuting Attorney Kellie Wingate Campbell, who has been designated a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in this case. It was investigated by the Higginsville, Mo., Police Department, the FBI and the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
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